I think everyone needs a “zen place”. Somewhere that they can just tune out the world and appreciate the situation at hand - not think about what’s going on, what’s coming up, or what urgent thing needs their attention next. While I don’t often come by those “zen places”, I ocassionally stumble into them and, when I finally realize it, try to capture it all in my mind before it passes by. For some reason, in a 10am meeting this Friday before Labor Day weekend, I had a “mental bounce” that brought the last one up. And it was great.

While winter in central Illinois wasn’t exactly a “riveting and exciting season” (in fact, it’s pretty miserable), there’s always something to be said about the first true snow of the season. While I always tried (and mostly succeeded) to load my classes into the afternoons, there were a few times that I couldn’t help but have a late class. Illinois had quite a few good, snowy winters (at least near my campus) while I was finishing up my schooling, and I (being the hockey player I am) am a sucker for a good snowfall.

We probably had about a foot of snow on the ground, with more coming down at a pretty light but steady pace. It was right about the middle of the week, and I was walking back from a late class. Walking through the north of the two quad areas, it dawned on me - I was the only person walking in this part of campus. The more I walked, the better it started to feel; walking through light snowfall, the sound of the snow underneath my boots. I decided to stop and take a minute to truly appreciate the scene. Large, old-growth trees…unblemished snow…just enough of a breeze and light to make the falling snow stand out in the sky. It was awe-inspiring. And it felt great to just stop and absorb it. I wasn’t worried about the schoolwork that waited for me back in my apartment, wasn’t worried about what fraternity work needed to be dealt with. It was a “living in the moment at hand” situation if I’ve ever been it one. I continued my walk back, taking in the rest of the scenes that a college town that was closed up for a snow storm might have offered.

I very rarely take time to disconnect from everything; I never just sit back, relax, and let it all fade away for a bit. I’m constantly reading, programming, learning; always doing something. So when a random “mental jump” back to that snowy, relaxing walk across campus hit me this morning, it shifted my perspective….really made me wish I’d be able to do something like that more often. It put me in a great mood, made the day fly by, and I actually feel relaxed at work (strangely enough). Maybe I need to venture out and find more of those “zen places” more often.