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Nature is my religion and the woods are my church. Like any religion, nature gives me peace of mind, it puts things in a perspective I’m comfortable with, it comforts me when times are hard. My favorite place and most accessible place to practice my religion was in a small stretch of woods in southern Missouri. They weren’t deep or far away from mans encroachment, but they were old and dark and teaming with life. There was a great variety of trees and undergrowth for just a few acres on an Ozark hillside. There were sassafras, red oaks, elms, cedars, willows, black walnut, and the forest floor was covered with thick vegetation that amplified every noise made by armadillos and squirrels. If you were to sit quietly under one of the great old oaks just before sunset, the earth would seem to come alive all around you as insects crawled out from under the leaves and the hundreds of tree frogs began to sing. For me it was a more magical place than any cathedral built by man.

It’s important to have a special place in your life that you can go to for solitude and introspection. Some find that place in a more modern church, or a good book, or even a bar, I will always go to my memories of a small lot of woods in southwestern Missouri that to me was a refuge from my troubles and the world and the perfect place to practice my religion.100_0994

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