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  • Diane Seufert Tait

Finding Peace; Nature helps me remember how to breathe

Greenwood Creek in New York

I have a beautiful Botanical Sanctuary, Eden Hyll, in northern New York State. Because of the pandemic, I hadn't been there for one year and 8 months. 5 weeks ago I took the plunge and went across the Thousand Island Bridges into the US. As I started my journey from the hamlet of Greenwood, where I live east of Toronto, I was filled with anxiety. Would I stay safe on this journey? Will I have trouble getting across the border either way? What will I find at my cabin, so long abandoned? Did I remember everything I need? Will my scheduled COVID test results be available in time to re-enter Canada? And on and on....

About a half hour into the drive I began to feel my spirits lift. I found myself smiling. I was away from the house! The border crossing going into the US was eerie and surreal. I was the only car amidst hundreds of trucks crossing the bridge, which was operating in a single lane. The border guard couldn't have been nicer and more welcoming. My cabin looked so beautiful and after a couple of days of TLC it was my special place again. I was feeling more alive than I had in over a year. You can check out my sanctuary on my website,

After a few days I had to drive about an hour northeast to the town of Fine. I had to go to a clinic at the hospital there for my test. The drive was spectacular as I crossed the 'green line' into the Adirondack Park, the largest, and I think the most beautiful, national park in the United States. On the way to Fine I noticed a sign for a turnoff to Greenwood Creek Picnic Area. Of course I noticed the sign because I live in Greenwood in Ontario. On the way back I turned off Rte.3 onto the dirt road and drove 5 minutes to the picnic area.

What a beautiful, peaceful place. As I got out of my car, a little poem that had been percolating in my mind came fully out. Let me share it with you here:

I lose all the fear

It simply melts away

as my diaphragm expands

My lungs can finally fill completely

Such peace has been so rare

I gratefully close my eyes,

a smile on my face

I thanked this special spot in the beautiful woods over and over. I had forgotten how to breathe with hope and joy. My sanctuary had started the process, but the unexpected discovery of this pristine gem had finished the job. At times like this, I truly feel the care and love of Mother Nature. I hadn't known how distanced from my inner calm I had become as I protected myself from world events. I will never forget this place and hope to return often in the future.

I hope each of you will find your own special place where you can go and breathe again. It is our ancestors the plants and the other inhabitants of the natural world who know how to coax us back to that still, perfect place inside ourselves.

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