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Backpacking with the SaintsWilderness Hiking as Spiritual Practice$
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Belden C. Lane

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199927814

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199927814.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 June 2021

Mindfulness: Moonshine Hollow and Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindfulness: Moonshine Hollow and Thich Nhat Hanh

8 (p.97) Mindfulness: Moonshine Hollow and Thich Nhat Hanh
Backpacking with the Saints

Belden C. Lane

Oxford University Press

The locals call it Moonshine Hollow, or Mooner’s Hollow, partly because of the haunting character of the moonlight in this small, isolated valley. It forces you to pay attention to the thousand shades of shadow and light you’d never thought to distinguish before. The phenomenon has something to do with the curvature of the ravine here, as light reflects off stone cliffs above and the lithe, white limbs of sycamore trees below. Whatever accounts for it, Moonshine Hollow is well named. Up from Coonville Creek in St. Francois State Park in southeast Missouri, it lies along the eleven-mile Pike Run backpacking trail. A small trickle of water flows year-round from the base of the cliff where I usually camp. During Prohibition it’s said that bootleggers operated a still in this remote hollow, making hooch, white lightning, or panther’s breath (as it was variously called). Hidden deep in the Ozarks, with cornfields nearby, a steady supply of cold water, and sufficient wood to keep a fire going, it was an ideal site for producing “mountain dew.” In fact, Missouri law still allows its citizens to distill up to two hundred gallons of whiskey a year for personal and family use. All of this lends Moonshine Hollow its unique appeal. What creates the ambience or “sense of place” that we associate with a singular locale? For Moonshine Hollow, it’s a combination of sheltered seclusion, the distinctive play of shadows on a moonlit night, even an edge of lawlessness. It’s a place where time has stopped. It invites you to linger. The moonshiner’s art is a slow and demanding one. The corn has to soak in a wet burlap sack for ten days. The mash has to be fermented with water, yeast, and malt for another ten days or more. Then, in being gently heated over a low fire, the alcohol has to evaporate, passing through a copper coil inside a barrel of cold branch water, dripping leisurely into a stoneware jug. The process can’t be hurried. Nothing should be rushed in Moonshine Hollow.

Keywords:   Buddhism, Celtic spirituality, Moonshine Hollow, Ozarks, attentiveness, brain, deer, distractions, evolution, gathas

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