Find Shelter From The Storm

Each of us must have a quiet place, a safe and solemn refuge. A go-to spot where we can chill. Always, but especially in this summer of our discontent.

It should be handy, a room at home away from family tumult, or a sanctuary of sorts but a short stroll away, a getaway for decompression and contemplation.

For me, there’s a path through Cherokee Park. It couldn’t be but a half mile long. It works.

I think it’s called Baringer Hill Road. There used to be a sign at one end. I noticed today during a jog that the signpost is missing. The asphalt walk is low land, mostly shrouded by a canopy of trees. Except for two spots, one at the bottom of what will soon be formerly known as Dog Hill. One other sun-filled stretch is also at the bottom of a gentle rise. Beargrass Creek, mostly dry except after the heaviest of rains, runs alongside, and underneath at several spots.

It starts — or ends, depending on your route — along the park road where Eastern Parkway, guarded by Daniel Boone, splays into nature’s/ Olmstead’s creation. It ends at what I knew growing up as the Lower Diamond. Across from Cochran Hill Road, it’s where rugby and ultimate frisbee matches are held.

It’s a sweet vista. Bucolic. Except for the garbage cans rarely emptied by a little roofed bench recently repaired in a cul de sac that branches from the path midway.

I hope your place of solace works as well for you as mine does for me.

We need the succor more than ever.

Our precious, beloved country is in peril. America’s prestige around the globe is practically nil. Gas prices are soaring. Mortgages are foreclosing. The nation’s highest-ranking prosecutor has lied repeatedly under oath. A war that will only set up a determined enemy rages. The let-them-eat-cake attitude of the Cheney/Bush regime has raced past 11 on the Hubris Meter.

The earth is heating up. People sit in parked cars with the motors running.

The Sopranos has run its course. Entourage is too short. The stars we seem obsessed with are all in jail, rehab or seclusion.

If sports is your bag, it could hardly be a worse summer. A pumped-up dipshit will probably have broken Henry Aaron’s homer record by the time you read this. NASCAR crew chiefs are getting suspended right and left for cheating. An NBA ref changed the course of games with his calls. Michael Vick, one of the NFL’s premier stars, likes to kill dogs. And cycling continues to be ravaged by illegal doping and blood infusions.

(Not to mention that my beloved Detroit Tigers have lost four in a row.)

Plus there are normal day to day exigencies of contemporary existence — family tsouris, the passing of friends, a bad day on the golf course, varmints eating your tomatoes, moles, the van breaking down on the way out of town for a week at Nags Head, parking tickets, lost car keys, bruised knees, ill-fitting swimsuits, computer snafus, long lines at re-opened Original Impellizzeri’s Pizza, doofus appliance repair guys and showing up at the movie house only to realize you misread when the movie started.

So, if you don’t have a special spot where you can get back in harmony with the universe, seek one out before dinner. It’s a necessity these daze.