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Take back your spiritual time in Mother Nature (part one)

Cypress Swamp on Natchez Trace Parkway.
Cypress Swamp on Natchez Trace Parkway.
Duann Kier Sywanyk

It’s Take Back Your Time Week, January 25-29, and the spiritual timing couldn’t be better.  We’ve come through all the hustle and bustle of the being happy holiday season.  We’ve sustained the expected high spirits through all our travels and family gatherings and even took a cup of kindness yet for Auld Lang Syne.  But after all the religious celebrations and ceremonies—perhaps because we participated in one too many—we actually feel like our spiritual battery is depleted and needs recharging.


It’s not just you.  Take Back Your Time Week challenges “the epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine that now threatens our health, our families and relationships, our communities and environment” (  


So how do you take back your time for spiritual renewal without feeling like you have to work something else into your already busy schedule?  How about going somewhere in the
area where you can experience
common, ordinary time in an uncommon, extraordinary way—in Mother Nature?


One place in nature where time seems to transform into something magical is on the

Natchez Trace Parkway

).  It’s the
Cypress S
area on the northeast tip of the Ross R. Barnett Reservoir.  Even a historical marker at the site reveals this isn’t an ordinary place.  “You are entering a realm of trees, water and reflections.  Its subtle beauty and peaceful setting can soothe a tired soul.  The trail is easily walked in twenty minutes, but a relaxed pace improves the likelihood of seeing wildlife.  Along the way, you may experience the wonderment of discovery.  Allow enough time for the magic to work.”  And magic it does work to soothe a tired soul.


When you arrive at the area, you’ll immediately notice water tupelo and bald cypress trees with their roots submerged in swampy water.  During winter the water can be quite clear; during summer the surface transforms into a fairyland of green algae.  Regularly you’ll hear woodpeckers drumming in the trees, and occasionally an owl will swoop across your path even in the broad daylight.


To get there, take Exit 105-A off I-55N just past

County Line Road

.  Turn right and travel for about 20 miles, slowly enjoying the extraordinary reservoir scenery along the way.  (Parkway speed limit is never over 50mph.)  And take a camera with you.  Chances are that woodpecker or owl will be ready to pose for the perfect photograph.



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  • Joyce 5 years ago

    I can testify to the beauty of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Last May, after spending a tough week at work in MS, I decided to take the long way home. The Parkway was just right for helping settle my mind, beauty all around, calming the storms of the past week.

    There were probably owls and woodpeckers, but I kept seeing turkeys!

    Thanks for this reminder of this spiritual retreat.

  • Kala Ambrose - National Metaphysical Spirituality 5 years ago

    Such a powerful reminder that nature is always present and ready to nurture us, we just need to remember to slow down and take time to smell the roses and the cypress. :-)

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