A Forest Reflection


Inspired by our time at the Forest Retreat at Walden, in Monterey, California 10/5/2019

by Cyndi Vasallo, part of our Studio community

Over the years, I have stopped trying to justify my reasons for not going to church. It’s not that I don’t believe in God, or in the power of prayer. It’s just that I find church to be such an odd and often uncomfortable place for me to worship. Here, as I sit under this canopy of trees, I breathe in deeply the scent of this space. Here, I feel I have entered a safe and sacred place. To me, it is as holy and hallowed as any church in which I’ve ever been. Maybe even more so.  Surrounding me, there is no artificial adornment. There are no vestments, no golden chalices, no preachy sermons, and no expectations to wear my Sunday best. I have come here as I am.  

Regardless of where I’ve been, what I’ve done, or where I’m going, I am always welcome here. Birdsong is my choir. The breeze through the pines is my blessed music. The smell of fresh air is my incense. My whispers echo through the branches and I can finally hear myself pray. I believe that this is what God truly intended. To spend time in a place where there are no physical or artificial barriers between Him and me. THIS is my ultimate place of worship, where I am surrounded by all He has created, a cathedral of His making, in a chapel of natural beauty.

Katie Dutcher