The urge to get away…to escape to a place where it is silent.  A place where the thoughts running through your head can come to a complete halt.  A silence that requires skill to attain and an urge to get away frequently. If you’re anything like me, you look for these places of silence in the great outdoors.

It was the perfect November Sunday on the Eastern Shore; warm enough to wear my broken in and holey jeans with nothing more than a sweatshirt, a pair of Chuck Taylors, and my favorite wool cap. It was also the Sunday following several busy work days, playing hostess to visiting guests of the parental kind, a whirlwind trip to the city of brotherly love, an enjoyable evening of great live music and sipping fancy beer, and a two and a half hour drive home at 6 am. An escape to nature was much needed.

My dog beat me out of the front door and darted to the car shortly after she saw me tie my sneakers, put my camera in its padded bag, and pick up the car keys. In under an hour, the labradoodle and I were careering through the woods of Milburn Landing, a sister park to Shads Landing, part of the Pocomoke State Forest.

Milburn Landing is a forest nestled on the banks of the Pocomoke River in Worcester County, MD. The park entrance is seven miles north east of Pocomoke City. Milburn Landing is known for its outstanding loblolly trees and cypress swamps that line the river. Surprisingly, the trees have almost zero leaves left on their bare branches. Winter is coming fast.

My canine pal and I briskly walked the needle-covered path, called River Road, through the whispering pines and straight to the public boat launch. The water was black, murky and completely still. My water-loving dog didn’t even try to launch herself off of the dock or splash in the shallow waters. I’m glad she didn’t either–there’s nothing like a soaking wet and muddy dog in the backseat of your car.

Further through the park, closer to the Nassawango Pavilion, a red-leafed Oak tree was bent over, roots exposed, and half submerged in the river water. It looked like the perfect place to sit after a 30 minute walk. I climbed carefully outward onto the horizontal trunk of the tree. I ventured out on the tree as far as I could without feeling unstable. Falling into the chilly black water was something I really didn’t want to do. I sat perched in this location, branches wrapped around me as though they were purposely holding me carefully above the still water, as the sun set and the sky turned from a mellow blue to light pink, and then to grey. The dog lay, sprawled out, a few feet away satisfied with the crispy leaves as a temporary bed.

From the outstretched limb I watched minnow swim, bats flutter overhead, squirrels scurry up trees, a heron stalking, and black birds circling above. Lost in the serenity, I noticed that there was no one around; not one other car in the parking lot and not one other person nearby.  It was the perfect place to reflect on my weekend as well as upcoming plans. The silence was beautiful and was exactly what I needed to cleanse my mind.

The wilderness has a way of providing warmth and stability. On a Sunday afternoon at dusk, I sat in an empty state park and relished the fact that I could enjoy this natural experience all by myself but would have loved to share it with another individual. I was instantly reminded of everything I have to be thankful for and excited about all that I have to look forward to.

I climbed back down from the tree limb, the dog rose eagerly, and we headed down the trail and hopped in the car. A 45-minute drive down 113 took us home. As I walked into the house, I was reenergized and ready to conquer my many mundane chores before resting my body in an overly cozy bed and catching some zzz’s.

In my dreams that night, I pictured minnows, bats, squirrels and birds zooming through the streets of Philadelphia and Ocean City, through the music venue, shopping stores, and new friend’s home–places I had been over the weekend. Then, the creatures just came to a quick stop and I envisioned myself perched above the Pocomoke River.  I was watching myself soaking in the sunset. It  was  a beautiful recollection of 3 days’ worth of events mixed with nature in a dreamy-form. I woke up the next morning feeling rejuvenated, to say the least.

Walking through the trees along the river at Milburn Landing is lovely during this time of year. I’m assuming most people don’t make it there in the winter because it is chilly and deserted. If you’re up for the cold, don’t mind being alone, or need a silent place to go reflect on daily life try this park. Milburn Landing State Park is located at 3036 Nassawango Road in Pocomoke City, MD.