Back in the days before cell phones, there was a man in his 60s recovering from a series of heart attacks. He had a secret spot in the woods of Highland Park where he’d sit alone and commune with nature. No one knew where it was — even his wife.
You’d want to ask him: You’re all alone in there. What if you need 911? He’d shrug off your question with a patient smile. He’d been a boxing champ, survived Marine combat missions, and was a self-made businessman. He didn’t fear fear. So he went to his secret spot to enjoy solitude and the natural peace found in wilderness.
The North Shore is a great place for such secret spots.
Forest preserves are common. There’s the Green Bay Trail, the Skokie Lagoons in Winnetka, wooded ravines along the bluffs and beaches. The Chicago Botanic Garden, Ryerson Woods. Yeah, you can find a secret spot.
And, today you’d have an advantage that the old guy with the iffy heart didn’t. You can take a cell phone, so you’re never cut off.
Still, as the world gets better, it also gets worse. There may be cell phones, but our woods now have ticks that could carry Lyme disease and mosquitoes that could carry the West Nile virus.
The old guy lived into his 80s, enjoying his secret spot for years. He never had a cell phone, Lyme disease or West Nile. And he never worried about having them either.
All he did was go each day to a quiet place in the woods where he could sit without company and, true to his nature, without fears.