Pausing the world

Pausing for a week. No wifi, no TV, no radio, no laptop. Five hundred acres of mostly virgin forest, cabins scattered beneath the trees. A lake visible from the porch of many cabins, from ours. Water, to which our eyes are drawn in any landscape. Here, a view of the boathouse on the lake.


Meher Spiritual Retreat Center, established in the 1950s, is Meher Baba’s home in the West, which he visited three times. Pilgrims come here, to be in the rooms he inhabited. Shoes off, silence observed. Cabins often full but quiet. The Center has many trails and footpaths, only a few accessible by car, like this one to the beach.

Road to the beach

On several footpath walks, deer beautifully blended into the woods, like this one, who stared, motionless, decided I was no threat and went back to grazing. There are snakes but I only saw one small water snake (maybe a moccasin) sliding from bank to water below the lagoon footbridge I was on. No alligators this time.

Camouflaged deer

On the far side of the lake the dunes block a view of the ocean—what can be seen of the dunes covered in foliage—but a thin bit of the Atlantic is visible above this low dune section. As I watched I saw white flashes of surf. The ocean is unseen from most places on the Center, but it is heard, its low rumble rising and falling with the wind.

A glimpse of the ocean over the dunes

Coming out the Center gate, through the end of the dunes, to visit the ocean of my childhood. I do miss it, took that long walk three times. So bright after the shelter of the trees, I had to stand a few moments, let my eyes adjust.

End of the dunes

From the beach the width of the Center is definitively marked by the hotels that begin at the property line on both sides. Living enclosed by forest and quiet for several days, the sight of those structures was jarring.

At both ends of the center, this happens

After a beach walk, I returned to our screened-in porch under the trees, wrote in my journal, read, stared at the rippling waters of the lake. And that’s what we did for most of our time there.

Path back to the cabin

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