I’m not very much of a nature girl. I mean, if it’s a choice beween curling up with a good book and a cup of good coffee versus lacing up the hiking boots, I’m taking the book and coffee every time. But sometimes, nature just sort of demands that you put the book down and unplug the computer and forget where you put your cell phone and simply be still and appreciate. Which is what some girlfriends and I did this past weekend when we rented a house on Smith Lake in Alabama and then proceeded to do not much of anything else. No, that’s not true. We ate and talked and laughed and drank and talked and laughed. And reveled in the peaceful and utterly quiet surroundings that demanded absolutely nothing of us except to enjoy. We’re making it an annual tradition to get away on the weekend before Thanksgiving, before all the holiday craziness — which we wouldn’t give up for anything, by the way — makes us … well, crazy. It’s like filling up your tank with super-extra-serene fuel to get you through the next few weeks, topped off with a refreshing oil-change of quality friend-time.