I spent Thanksgiving week on a journey back to my past, walking in step with friends along the Florida Trail around Lake Okeechobee. It was an opportunity to unplug, with no computer tether for ten days, no cell phone til afternoons, and awakening before dawn every morning to enjoy the zen of walking.

For several years, I’ve been plodding along with a novel set on the south shore of this enormous lake, and immersing myself in the setting was the best inspiration of all. I gained insights into my characters that will reshape the direction of the story, I savored time in places they would visit, and I found new and intriguing details to add to the story, places only noted at a slow, mindful pace, such as the island of royal palms, above, illuminated by sunrise. It was a journey worth making, and brought me back out of the whirling madness of my everyday life to a calm place where I will try to stay.