Beneath the Stars and Trees ... there is a place

A Woodland Retreat

Janice Gray Kolb

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ISBN: 1-57733-106-0, 372 pp., 47 b/w photos, 6x9, $19.95

You are invited to attend a retreat at the author's lakeside cottage. It doesn't require your physical presence - just the presence of your mind and imagination. You may consider yourself too busy to attend this retreat, but the rewards in a renewal of your spirit and outlook will be great. If you have ever tried to "find yourself" in the hustle of a busy office, or at home where an avalanche of activities, thoughts, responsibilities, noise, tension, and just routine living impinge on you constantly, you know that true peace and constructive personal thought is nearly impossible. You need to get apart from life's distractions - to retreat to a place where you can properly order the multitude of complex factors that make up your life. You must retreat before you can advance.

This book is an invitation to straighten out all that mental and emotional clutter that tears you away from the person you really are - or the person you want to be. The guidelines are here. Appropriate for your own use those thoughts that could be helpful to you, discard those that your own self-analysis tells you will not help you, and invent some of your own.

Join the author as she leads you to a place of infinite beauty and charm. A place where she has found her heart's home. Let her share with you some thoughts and experiences which can open your mind to a world of peace and new possibilities for your life.


"Janice Gray Kolb, author of The Enchantment of Writing, is fast becoming one of the most fascinating and accessible journal writers in contemporary literature. Follow along with her lovely descriptions of nature and the subtleties of life and allow her to guide you to the lovely place that she has discovered 'beneath the stars and trees.' For all those who want to find a peaceful 'time-out' from the stresses and demands of contemporary life, we heartily recommend Beneath the Stars and Trees ... There Is a Place." Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger, authors of Animal Miracles and Christmas Miracles

"By creating a quilt-of-the-written-word from her life in the New Hampshire woods, Janice Kolb connects the world she can reach out and touch with the faith that so often reaches out and touches her. The blend of the natural and the spiritual, like any good quilt, will warm you and comfort you, and leave you feeling a little more secure as you walk along the sometimes-confounding journey that is our earthly visit." Michael Burnham, writer/journalist

"I have spent many happy days as a guest at Jan and Bob's place in the woods, and at the next door home of the Clancy family. I can attest to the beauty that Jan describes in her book. Jan's Woodland Retreat is a place teeming with animal and human life, and yet peaceful and serene. It is a perfect place to meditate, reflect, and renew your spirit. Beneath the stars and trees, there truly is a special place, and Jan's book will transport you there, as often as you wish." Mark Sardella, columnist, The Wakefield Daily Item, Wakefield, Massachusetts

Table of Contents

Foreword by Robert A. Kolb, Jr.
Introduction Welcome to the Woods

1. Highway to Higher Ground
2. Settling In
3. Moose
4. Rocks
5. Journal Keeping
6. Snow
7. Peepers
8. Other Dimensions
9. Rochester - Feline Angel
10. Birds
11. Diane and Friends
12. Gardens
13. Beaver Tales
14. Trees
15. Our Sleekit Timorous Beasties
16. Remembrance
17. The Bookshop
18. Stars, Moon and Sunsets
19. The Lake

Here in This Place by R.A.K., Jr.


There are places of the heart, places of the soul, and not having such a place even if it be only in the imagination, is enough to make the difference between living fully or dying within. When I was a child my Mother always spoke of wanting to live in a white cottage with blue shutters surrounded by a white picket fence. I do not know if she longed for her dream cottage to be in the suburbs or in the country. Often on a Sunday afternoon when I was a little girl, my parents and I would take a drive to other areas outside the city of Philadelphia, but she never found the home of her dreams. If she did find it she never spoke of it. I do not believe she could ever have made this drastic move. She was entrenched in their city row home on Third Street, and their lifestyle there. Both my parents had been raised in the inner city, and when they married and moved to this home five years before my birth, I am certain they felt as if they were living in the suburbs. And in a sense for most of their lives there they were, until the problems of the city began to touch these outskirts. My mother's cottage with blue shutters lived in her heart.

When I married as a young girl I left this home of my childhood in the purlieu of Philadelphia to live eventually in suburbia, though not far from where I grew up. It was there Bob and I reared our six children. But once I had discovered life by a lake in the woods, my heart remained in that woods until I could eventually call it my permanent "home," as my heart had previously done twenty-one years earlier. It is in this beautiful locality in New Hampshire that we have lived since January 1996 and vacationed since 1975. As did my Mother, I carried a cottage in my heart - my cottage. Only my dream became a reality, and my cottage is woodland green. In this cottage hours go by without the need to speak. My joy is so complete. My heart is so at peace.

This cottage and woods were so essential to our souls that ever since we purchased the cottage we were drawn to it again and again. We would even drive the 420 miles to spend a weekend here to become rejuvenated. Leaving Pennsylvania during the night of a Thursday we would arrive sometime Friday morning. By Sunday noon we had to drive back to Pennsylvania, but we had been touched and changed and could not wait until our next trip north. Bob would even make phone calls from his office at the end of a hard day to our empty cottage, just so he could hear the phone ring and connect, and be here in imagination. It was a form of healing to him. After living here permanently these past four years I can write in deepest truth that enchantment is ever present; the wonder, the awe, the joy - and this is at last, our only and forever home. We rejoice at this daily.

People say they can feel the difference when after almost a mile ride through the woods they arrive at the top of our hill, drive down, and are on our property. No matter what the season it is another world. My friend Joanne has called it "Land of Enchantment," and oh, I agree. There is not a time that I drive down that hill, alone or with Bob, that my heart does not dance, and I am in awe that this is our home. Daytime, nighttime, the magic is there! And I am grateful. Each season has its unique beauty and mysteries awaiting to be discovered, relished, and appreciated. We live in this tucked away heaven on earth with the sun and wind and snow and rain, and God's creatures, and a view of the lake outside our door that leaves me helpless at times and in tears because I am so thankful that this is our place on earth. No matter what way I turn to look, I am lost in love, wonder and praise for this small magical kingdom beneath the tall pines and firs. It is to this sweet place of seclusion I wish to invite you, that you might share in its beauty and tranquility and healing. As you read you will sense how this home and woods have changed my life. Perhaps it too, can touch your life vicariously - through reading, writing and prayer - and just "being." I invite you now. It is written, "the best way to travel is by means of imagination." Are you willing and ready?

I try to give love from my magic cottage because it was given to us in a special way by God, and I believe I am to give it to others through my writing. Through the years I was touched and invigorated in my soul and spirit repeatedly through being in these woods. I awaited each opportunity to make the trip here. The first ten to twelve years of our ownership included times spent here with our children. When our last child Janna was in college, it was then Bob and I began to come here more frequently with the intention of one day moving here. Each period spent here revitalized us.

Blue Dolphin Publishing, 2002

Other books by Janice Kolb:
Compassion for All Creatures
Journal of Love
The Enchantment of Writing
Higher Ground
Beside the Still Waters
In Corridors of Eternal Time
Solace of Solitude
A Pilgrim on Life's Road
Silent Keepers
Reflections by the Lake
The Adventures of Luki Tawdry
Reverence for All Life
Whispered Notes

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