Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Spiritual Refreshment in the Devil's Den

Yesterday, I took a 4 mile hike in Devil's Den Preserve in Weston, CT. I've been hiking there regularly for the past 5 years. The photo to the right shows a pond and stream, one of many in this lovely 1,700 acre preserve.

To the untrained eye, Devil’s Den is a singularly unspectacular place. It has no tall peaks or breath-taking vistas. It is mostly Connecticut deciduous forest with a few evergreens. It has streams and wetlands and one river, the west branch of the Saugatuck River, running along its western side. It has many rock outcroppings, the result of a glacier receding from Connecticut during the last Ice Age. By Rocky Mountain standards, these rock formations are not even foothills.

Yet, I find Devil’s Den to be a deeply spiritual place. For me it is a place of natural and unspoiled beauty-- a quintessential example of a Connecticut landscape. When I hike there, I leave refreshed and renewed. It is a soul feeding experience.

I’m keenly aware of the irony that one of the key places in my spiritual world is called Devil’s Den. I’m not really sure why it was so named, but I like the aura of danger and mystery implied in it. Perhaps it’s the chaotic rock formations and dead trees crisscrossing the forest that caused it’s namer to envision it as a place where the Devil hangs out. I only know that it is a place where I feel connected with the spiritual dimension of life.

On the sign at the entrance to Devil's Den "spiritual refreshment" is listed along with "hiking, nature trails, and cross-country skiing" as activities offered in this preserve. Everyone needs to discover a place they can go for spiritual refreshment. Everyone needs to find their own Devil's Den.

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