Finding Peace in Avalon!

Today I went for a hike with the Long Island Trail Enthusiasts to a park in Stony Brook, NY, called Avalon. Apparently, this park is a memorial to young man named Paul Simons who loved being active outdoors. While I have been going hiking a lot lately with the group and on my own, this hike was unlike any of the others. When in the woods, it is common to feel a sense of peace, but at Avalon this sense of serenity is unlike any other. It is beautiful without being as obvious as something like the Swiss Alps or the Catskill Mountains. At Avalon, it is a more subtle beauty, with compartmentalized kind of areas along the way.

At one point, the group was walking through an area that seemed to at one point have man-made architectural structures in it, while at another point we strolled through a section of Dr.Seuss-like trees, thick and spinning in all different directions. I also loved how the dark forest blended together with bright fields, providing a contrast that was ironically harmonizing.

The highlight of the morning was the stone labyrinth. You are to follow the path of stones, which appear to lead you directly to the center of the area, but actually continually bring you on alternative paths. In this area are also large boulders, one which has a wonderfully made sculpture of a rock climber. The labyrinth is a very peaceful place, and the group was fortunate enough to have a member who also practices mediation. Because of this, we were all treated to a 10-minute visual mediation that was both relaxing and energizing.

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