I have a thing for trees.
There’s something great about sitting outside under a big tree on a breezy day. It seems inaccessible, an island of calm unaffected by the clamor of daily life.
There’s a small memorial park just outside the base in Fallon that’s unfailingly empty. It’s a simple place—just a few picnic benches, a couple clumps of trees, and a gravel parking lot.
One of the big trees at the park grew a little ways from the others. When I spend the day in Fallon and get a moment free, I like to enjoy its shade while I read or write. I’m sitting there right now in fact—enjoying the wind in the leaves, the cars wooshing by, and the occasional screams of a few dozen fighters as they depart overhead for the basin and range to the east.
Another of my favorite trees lives by the Navy Visitors Quarters in Key West. It grew in a grassy field by the water near a defunct cul-de-sac, an old hangar, and some ancient ramps that haven’t seen a seaplane in over a half-century.
I used to visit Key West occasionally for training, and it was fun to hang out under that tree and read about philosophy, architecture, or art from second-hand titles I dug up in an out-of-the-way bookstore just off Duval Street. The seaside location seemed to demand weighty topics, so who was I to argue?
Over the last couple of years, I’ve had fewer of these moments, despite (or maybe because of) working from my own home for patient clients who live a continent away.
The challenge is busy-ness. Hollow productivity comes easily when email and chat are at your fingertips. Quiet places where you can hear yourself think over the din of the internet are more precious than ever.
In an age of ubiquitous connectivity, peace is found wherever we allow ourselves to find it–even if it’s under the departure end of Runway 31 Left, just beyond the gates of Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada.