The sound of a rushing stream burbling over rocks sedates and calms me.
Watching the water's shimmer, scanning the edge for dragonflies and flowers refreshes my mind.
Beside such dappled waters I find peace, and joy, restoration and strength.
There are plenty of such streams flowing through the mountains that surround the city where I now live.
I went outside and stood on the deck of the house watching the graceful river run into a quiet pond beneath me.
I felt all the pressures of my life melt away.
With the home owner's permission, I sat for awhile and marveled at its design, became relaxed and became renewed.
The house itself was marvelous both inside and out.
(You can see all of it by clicking on the picture tab rather than the video tab on the highlighted linked word house above.)
Every inch of the almost 4,000 square foot home had recently been remodeled to perfection.
And home owner shared that the landscaping alone had cost $100,000.
"How much did the stream bed cost?" I quickly asked.
She didn't know; the cost was included in the entire landscaping project.
We could afford the house, with some really tight budgeting.
What we couldn't afford is the upkeep on such a place over the long haul.
"You wouldn't need to use the basement" the real estate agent offered.
(The basement was as elegant as any luxury hotel that you have ever visited...with a second kitchen, living room and deck...)
We pondered the possibility of buying the place, and renting out the basement to another family.
And yet we still felt a check against encumbering ourselves with so much space.
It was such a beautiful home.
We found ourselves lingering, mesmerized by the relaxing stream.
"If I may ask, why are you selling it?"
"The house was my husband's parent's. After we got it, we spent six years remodeling it. We had six children living with us here. It is too large now."
I told her that I too was an empty nester. And that it was too large for me as well.
I looked around the elegant marble countered kitchen overlooking the stream, the beautiful dining room with chairs for eight at the table, and the beckoning stone fireplace just beyond.
It was all too easy to imagine cozy evenings, bright mornings, and holiday gatherings with family and friends.
Then she added wistfully: "My husband is divorcing me. I love this house, but now it must be sold."
I looked into her empty eyes, and told her how sorry I was that that was happening to her.
I told her I would pray that she would soon find a place that would sooth her heart, and allow her to feel a peace again.
Outside the sound of the stream continued, and the sunshine through the autumn hued trees turned the garden grounds golden and bright. Nothing more could be more appealing. Nothing could be more soothing.
And yet there was a sadness that clung in our hearts as we bade her farewell and walked away from a house that had seemed to me to be a place like paradise.