A gondolier glides along Lake Merritt, a lake in the middle of downtown Oakland. The setting is unexpected with its greenery ringing a walking path, glistening water and un-urban feel. The oasis made me think that calmness, serenity, quiet -- notions that don't really fit the eighth largest city in the U.S. -- can be found in the middle of swirling, uncontrolled, energized action. A brieft respite from everything surrounding you is possible. Sure, it helps to find a spot of beauty and nature to take your mind off the unsavory to-do's or things to remember. But, seeking the moment out and relishing every aspect of it can lift you through the chaos. The times in life that matter the most always require that we put one foot in front of another and create a path to reach the other side.