Today’s guest post comes from Sherrilee.

My child is an animal lover. When we came home from China I was a little worried about her reaction to the two big dogs I had at the time. Didn’t need to worry about that. In fact, it was my Irish Setter who seemed to think that my bringing home an infant wasn’t the best thing I’d ever done.

From an early age, we did lots of activities that involved animals. We became zoo members at the new zoo, visited Como as well. She’s petted snakes at the Science Museum and sting rays at the State Fair. Vacations usually have animal components as well. Zoos in St. Louis, Indianapolis, Colorado Springs, Chicago. Grant’s Farm, Wilderness Walk, Fawn Doe Rosa, International Wolf Center – if there are animals there, she wants to go.


It didn’t surprise me three years ago when we visited colleges in Colorado that she wanted to visit the Wildlife Sanctuary outside of Denver. I’m not even sure how she KNEW there was such a place, but off we went one afternoon after a morning campus visit.

The Wildlife Sanctuary was started 1980 and is home to rescued “exotic” animals: tigers, bears, mountain lions, wolves, African lions and many others. Most of the animals were rescued from abusive situations and some of the animals started as “pets” that quickly became too large and too uncontrollable. It is an Sanctuary1amazing facility, run by staff who clearly care deeply about the plight of these animals. There is a mile long overhead walkway so that visitors can see into the various habitats as well as an education center with various videos playing that document some of the animal rescues and the ongoing mission of the place. We spent hours there, we’ve donated ever since and get their newsletter every quarter.


So it also didn’t surprise me that when we decided on Colorado again this year for vacation that Young Adult wanted to go BACK to the animal sanctuary. The sanctuary has grown a little but is still taking great care of the animals that have been fortunate enough to find a home there. Again we spent hours there.

Where do YOU find sanctuary?

43 thoughts on “Sanctuary”

  1. Sanctuary has always been most readily found inside my head. Sometimes the things I need sanctuary from are in there too, but more often I’m using my imagination to escape from the…I can’t call it “the real world,” as the real world to me is the world of nature, but “the human world.” I figured out fairly early on in parochial school that they could control what I did, but they couldn’t control what I thought, as long as I didn’t make the mistake of talking about it. My other sanctuary is books, and of course the two are extremely closely related.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Sanctuary! Such a lovely word, and such a lovely concept: someplace safe and peaceful. Such a great topic, thanks, Vs.

    The first thing that comes to mind when I think of a sanctuary is the small chapel on the third floor of the boarding school I attended when I was a kid. Every evening the nuns would herd us to this pristine shrine for vespers. There was something about that small room, the quiet and smell of it, that radiated harmony. It was a place were I felt completely at ease and unafraid.

    The next thing that pops into my head is a forest. I’m lying on my back, looking up into the crowns of tall beech trees. The only sound is the wind rustling gently through the leaves and birds singing. This is a very specific place, a place I’d ride my bike to whenever I wanted to be alone.

    These days a sanctuary can be just about anywhere where there’s peace and quiet. There can be music, but it must be music that soothes my soul. Mostly, though, I think of a sanctuary as a refuge I create for myself within my own mind. Mediation helps find it.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. sanctuary is nature for me. i always get a kick out of the fact that we go to the city and then look for a park and comment on how much its like nature.
    the parks where nature is the focus are wonderful. destinations where the outdoor part of the equation is primary are what i enjoy. i like art and i like music and i like authors and poetry but the mountains the woods the streams the meadows the waterfalls the sunrises and sunsets are all what get me feeling that deep down satisfaction that comes with being in your element. hiking, cross country skiing, biking rolelerblading, activity is what i enjoy.
    mushroom hunting works good for me nowadays. a couple hours looking at the ground feels kind of like getting in touch with nature. i hope to get out and do some camping this year before the season is over. ely is calling. a tent and a pan and a match are all thats needed i could probably get by without 1 but the 3 seem to make the best combination

    Liked by 5 people

      1. when i was a kid the day camp from the city was the way we spent two weeks every summer. during the regular summer days we went outside grabbed the 6 neighborhood kids who were the close hangout friends and headed to the school at the bottom of the hill where the box hockey.( what ever happened to box hockey?) i love that game.

        four square and chess were also part of the deal. the real use for the school was to get water between baseball games. ill bet i played 1000 baseball games each summer. 5 or 6 a day for sure with a organized deal thrown in where you got to wear a purple shirt with a number on the back instead of bareback in bumpers.
        people sat inside and colored and sang songs and made up plays and other stuff but we were tetherball bax hockey four square and baseball.

        but…. for 2 weeks you signed up for daycamp where they took you to the woods in another neighborhood and you got plugged into a group with bob and molly as the group leaders and they taught us how to determine which trees were elms or oaks or birch which bugs bit ate mold lived under logs or leaves the stream ran through the middel or the lake wa sover there. the collecting of the firewood was a daily task to get ready for hot dogs and beans smores and potatoes food outdoors is a great community event with 10 year olds and the thing i came away with is that fires are easy. all you need is the stuff to make it happen. if you have all wood the size of your wrist its a problem. if its all the size of a pencil thats a problem you need 4 stacks of wood for a fire and a single piece of paper. you need a pile of wood the size of your wrist another the size of your thumb. then you need a big stack the size of a pencil and a small stack the size of a pipe cleaner. you take the one piece of paper and crumple it hard hard hard and set in in the middle of the fire ring, then stack a teepee load of pipe cleaners all around the paper. around the teepee you build a log cabin of pencil sized stuff build it 4 inches tall and then build a log cabin around that with the thumb sized stuff. now be prepared with the other stck of pencil sized stuff and follw that with the thumb sized stuff but not until you have the foundation ready to go. when you have the paper inside the teepee inside the log cabin inside the other log cabin its difficult to get you match to light the paper but the art of the campfire is always to do it with one match. if you need two you are a loser. you may need to craft a stick that will hold your match so you can insert it without disrupting the architecture you created to make this event possible then you light the match and light the paper and watch the fun begin. as the flame gets the pipe cleaners going the little log cabin can be used as a place to stack more pipe cleaner sized stuff to get the flame doing a gentle roar, then the pencil then the thumb sized stuff gets added and stacked.the thumb sized stuff locks it into a real fire. then the wrist size stuff goes around usually in a hexagon teepee combination and when the wrist size stuff is going a couple of leg size logs are the way to keep it going for the day/night and to be used as a buffer that will rekindle an unattended fire an hour after after collecting lingonberries acorns and pinecones for the study session about the woods we will have on friday when we relive our week in the woods.

        thats a long answer to me and a match for camp fires but yeah. i do matches really well. they are a commodity and i dont like to use two. its a mountain man thing i picked up. i ma jerimiah johnson down deep. io may end up in the loft area of minneapolis or the village in nyc but i may well end up in the mountains of the wild west or central america eating roots and berries and of course mushrooms.

        a flint and a pocket of wool are a little more trusty than a ahrdwarstore with another bic long lighter with the pull trigger. might as well use a bernzomatic torch.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. There is a 2nd floor dance space in the Performing Arts Center that is a former chapel (the building was at one time a convent), where our Sacred Circle Dance group has met for several years. High windows, it has that safe and peaceful feel, a bit like a kiva. This is one sanctuary.

    The back yard and the screen porch in the evening after the construction machinery has stopped, and the traffic has slowed down. I also agree about the forest.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good morning. I agree with Crow Girl. I think the best place for me to take sanctuary is my mind. I can go to a number of different places to find sanctuary. In the end, however, I think I could find sanctuary in my mind if the other places where I can find sanctuary are not available.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sometimes it works for me
      no it doesnt
      yes it does
      shut up
      you shut up
      oh yeah???? jerk face
      dont call me jerk face you rude pig
      your mother is glad she had other children.
      your mother wonders if she had any who lived
      oh yeah

      its ok if you talk to yourself,, its ok if you argue with yourself its not ok if you lose all the arguments.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Whenever I need to “get away,” I just get away in my mind. I go to my imaginary spot, where the beach is perfect and the water is perfect and the weather is perfect. The only bad thing there are the flies. They’re terrible!

      – Jack Handey

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great article and wonderful pictures, VS! I find sanctuary in a book, classical music or, oddly enough, doing karate. There’s also something exhilarating about swimming in a lake on a beautiful day that brings me back to center.

    OT for future reference to whoever may be interested. I’m currently working on my 2nd Degree Black Belt and will be graduating at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Saturday, September 26 at noon. Free and open to anyone!

    Liked by 5 people

  7. I’ve had different sanctuaries at different times.

    Going into junior high school I suddenly lost self confidence. I began avoiding social situations, preferring to be outdoors. The natural world became a sanctuary where I didn’t have to deal with self doubt.

    When my erstwife left the marriage, one of her last comments was that I would now be free to live somewhere else, somewhere closer to nature. But I had just lost my father, my job and my partner in life. I intuitively knew that losing my home would be dangerous. Instead I reinvented my home to make it a sanctuary.

    And then there was the cabin overlooking Lake Superior. The cabin was one of the quirkiest structures I’ve seen, but that was cool. Our neighbors were deer, foxes, bears and seagulls. There was never a better place to enjoy public radio, a crackin’ good novel, a crisp glass of Chardonnay and a grilled coho salmon fresh from the lake. It was so much more than a sanctuary, which is a place where one can escape. The cabin was a beautiful and comforting place to savor life.

    Liked by 5 people

  8. I’ve found sanctuary in my journaling most nights. I’m alone most of the time and have always been skilled at being preoccupied with problems my kids are facing as well as my own stuff. I could sit here for hours and fuss about Steve’s unfair divorce process or Mary’s nursing school stress. Or my own life looking for relevance. I call this “collecting dust bunnies” in the corners of my brain. Dust bunnies proliferate if you focus on them and can paint a sunny day grey.

    About a year ago, I found myself trapped in such a state of sadness and there was no one with whom I felt comfortable sharing this around at the time, so I began a journal and have written almost nightly ever since. It occurred to me that, if no one was present to hear me express the pain I was in, I could talk to myself through writing. It’s the first time I’ve ever written without an “audience”. Meaning that anytime I put thoughts or feelings into print, they were shared with at least one other human.

    At first, it felt odd to only be talking to myself, but early on this activity became a source of relief and comfort. It also helped clean out the dust bunnies by getting them out in plain view rather than blowing around in my head. In the past when too many collected, I’d book a session with my therapist. Then he retired, leaving me to my own devices!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I will not bemoan several lost sanctuaries. Now have my patio with coffee in morning, prayer, local coffee house, lying in dark quiet, hmm, what else?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. OT: finished The Shepherds Life. Mailing it back to tim today. Interesting book, fascinating man/author, a statement with which he would agree, but that makes it more interesting. He has lived a up-the-stream life to much success. He references an old book called A Shepherds Life, written a hundred years ago, about humble life in the 1800’s in Wiltshire. Free on Amazon ebooks, maybe elsewhere. Good history read, reads like stories, not abstract history.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. OT – Claudia Schmidt and Willie Murphy.
    They will be doing some stuff together and separately. Their first time sharing a stage. Should be fun.

    Wednesday, August 19, 8:00pm – 11:00pm
    No Cover Charge!

    Schooner Tavern
    2901 27th Ave So
    Minneapolis, MN 55406
    (612) 729-4365

    Liked by 2 people

  12. The concept of sanctuary carries an interesting duality. On one hand, sanctuary is a place one goes to escape things that are negative. It is a safe place, a haven. But sanctuary can also mean a place one goes to contact what is sacred are restorative. Sanctuary is where we go to connect with the energy that makes us healthy.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. hi-
    To me, sanctuary is more a state of mind; a quite time and place after whatever hubbub is over.
    Sometimes it’s in a tractor, sometimes its in my office, sometimes it’s in the car.
    Could be sitting on the deck or laying in bed or standing in the middle of a dark, quiet stage.
    When I was a teenager I spent many evenings laying in the hood of my car looking at the stars.
    (I don’t get as comfortable nowdays on car hoods; not sure if it’s me or the car. Actually, I don’t think car hoods are made that well anymore.)
    Could be alone or could be with people.

    Good topics recently, Baboons. Well done!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Like many of you have said, sanctuary can be many places and there are many ways to get there: listening and being in community in my church’s sanctuary, on my front stoop with a book on a summer night, in the laughter and and togetherness of family gatherings. Or in music – Aaron Copland is one of my favorites for when I need to find that still, quiet place:

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Playing the piano was my sanctuary (and therapy) during my turbulent teen years. Music can still function as sanctuary but these days it is mostly books. I can spend hours with my nose buried in the pages of a real book (no e-reader for this gal)……forgetting about the cares and woes of the world. Being out in nature is another favorite sanctuary.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. OT – Just want to alert all of my fellow baboons that there’s no new blog scheduled for tomorrow. Don’t know whether that means that Dale hasn’t gotten around to scheduling one, or if it means that there are none in the hopper that are ready for publication.


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