I wrote “Beautiful Land” while traveling with my wife, Paula, and Dave and Dana Brown through the mountains of New Hampshire.

In the stillness of the morning
In the absence of a practical plan
In the wake of my transforming
From a loved one to a stranger again
Lies a beautiful land with the hills around
Where the mountaintops reach for the billowing clouds
And the touch of God’s hand is the whispering sound
Of the wind through the leaves in the dawn’s misty shroud
Beautiful land

I remember wrestling with that final verse. My initial instinct was to say “In the wake of your transforming” but then I realized it was the opposite that was motivating everything. He, the narrator, the singer, the driver, was the stranger again. Not her.

I am currently reading a book called “Into the Silent Land” which is a sort of a guide to working with silence to mine our unexplored depths, the vast unknown, wild and beautiful, waiting to be uncovered. “Beautiful Land” mines similar terrain, I think, in saying that no matter the drama, no matter the pain and the suffering we seem to be facing, no matter our mistakes, no matter the confusion we wrap around us like straightjackets, the beautiful land remains – untouched, unsullied, untainted, within us, always just a breath away.

Not a bad thought as we start a new year.