“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”~ Anita Desai
I’m often reminded of the places I’ve lived, visited. I revisit them in my mind, through the stories they’ve written upon my life and the experience they’ve imparted in my heart.
I can’t help but to think how a certain place leaves its mark upon the heart and mind. Subtle beauty, nuance, the smell of the air and the taste of the wind, good times, bad times, pain, loss, joy and ecstasy. These all breathe drops of life into a soul, my soul; touching me and allowing my growth. No matter how far from these places I roam, they remain familiar, forming my gestalt; my dynamic. Here in this sphere of the intimate, I become acquainted with my soul.
These places are never forgotten, no matter how far we travel from them. Whether they’ve written good stories or bad, we all take them with us in our book of life; etched upon the stone of the mind, and forever burned into our hearts
I can vividly recall growing up in the plains of Oklahoma, near the rolling hills of the east. The green lands were all around me and I was their intrepid explorer. Numerous streams, ponds and large creeks were always a part of my backyard. They gave me my first glance at the natural world, though most of them have been hidden under concrete now, or overgrown; covered with time. The great Arkansas River we crossed often, high above the current formed sandbars that showed its force. This place was my kingdom for many years.
I then remember when I placed my eyes on the Gulf of Mexico for the first time, the Mississippi sound. I recall easily the smell of salt and brine in the air; the smell of shrimp and spiced crab boil. The live oaks lurched high above the beachfront, hanging their hearty branches low; covering the lavish azalea laden grounds of nearby antebellum homes. The Spanish moss hung from these large, hearty Oak boughs, drooping to the ground, waving in the wind among the scent of Magnolia blossoms. This land I explored for many years, and though scarred from Katrina, it still waives a friendly hello every time I return.
I recall the many places I’ve traveled. Too many to name, but none ever forgotten.
I recall my feet, touching for the first time the cold waters of the Pacific along the Oregon and California coast; the smell of the Manzanita trees; the crisp morning air of San Diego and the song of its resident parrots.
I remember the humid air along the coast of North and South Carolina, its southern charm just as welcoming, just as familiar as that of home; wherever home is.
I still feel the heat of the high desert plateau and my many travels to Arizona and New Mexico; the scent of the juniper wood as it burns under blankets of stars, chilled by the high desert winds. My love for these places is never waning, never dulled. These images hang in special places; my hall pictures; the decorations of my heart and mind.
I miss many places often as well.
I miss the cold nights of Upstate New York, the white blanket of constant snow, and the great rift; the Milky Way, that massive, blurred cloud of stars that I could see from my porch every night. I miss the St. Regis River that flowed behind our home and the fields of dandelion that sprang forth in the spring.
I miss the stench of New Orleans, the French Quarter and the garden district. I miss the bumpy roads; the street fairing precession of tourists and locals along St. Charles Avenue. I miss the Tickfaw River of Southeastern Louisiana; the brackish bayous and salt laden lakes; the Ponchatoula strawberry festival and all the unique folk that make the south home.
Yesterday I sat with a new view, near the base of Pike’s Peak. Red Mountain stood proudly outside my window. I dwelt among the soda springs, a place where the natives of centuries past came to refresh and replenish their weary, traveled bodies. I sat among a mound of history, rich in culture and steeped in mystery.
No matter where I’ve been. This is where I am, now. Here. No matter where, all of these places are a part of me, my gestalt; my sphere of the intimate.
In our lives we travel far, we live fast and we rarely look back. We should all take the time to reflect on the places we’ve visited, to reacquire the harmony of these lands as they’ve been given gracefully to us as gifts of life. Our home is all around, and it should be loved, remembered and cherished.
Go forth and discover your backyard. Take in more than just the view… Remember your homes, your visits and your loves of past days, and sit in peace with life. Enjoy your intimate sphere, your acquainted soul.
These places and these experiences are the decorations of our hearts, and when placed upon the wall of the mind they will remain engrained in the soul; forever a part of our time here.