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A Monday Meander: Place

 

At sunrise.

To know a physical place you must become intimate with it. You must open yourself to its textures, its colours in varying day and night lights, its sonic dimensions. You must in some way become vulnerable to it. In the end, there’s little difference between growing into the love of a place and growing into the love of a person.

~ Barry Lopez

A regular visitor. For now. The egrets usually move east, closer to the beaches, for the summer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about place lately.  Place as in where I live.  Place as in the earth, the ground I walk on, the water that surrounds this peninsula that is technically an island.

Towering and flowering above the smaller trees in the future forest.

Thoughts of place come up for me every spring, a little like the plants poking their heads up but also a little like the trash the former owners left behind.  Every spring, without fail, Coors Light cans and other garbage rises up from under the pine needles in the woods or the dried and fallen grasses in the marshes.  A piece of plastic sticks out.  I pull.  It turns out to be a large, black, plastic covering of some kind.  With it are the bottom of a seat (a cushion) and a tire.  The rubbish around here comes in odd combinations.  Household stuff piled in an old boat.  Planters filled with old tires.  A greenhouse filled with plastic.  If you’ve been following me since we moved here, you know all this.  You know about all the trash we’ve cleaned up and hauled out of here (over 5 tons!!).  As I recently commented to someone, I sometimes think the cleaning up around here is my yoga.  It’s certainly a regular practice.  It is also part of this place, like it or not.  The hope is to leave it better than we found it.  I think that way globally, too.

You never know what you’ll find when you tug on things around here. Alas, it’s never pirate treasure.

It’s not surprising to me that place comes to mind this time of year.  We moved here in the spring, having closed on the house in April and moved in May.  A new adventure, new lands and worlds to discover.  And a leaving behind of a place that I loved for many reasons, the most important being that of leaving behind loved ones who live there.  Yes, I go back for visits and that’s lovely.  It is also lovely to visit that place and walk the trails I used to walk nearly every day.

These little guys are blindingly yellow on a sunny day.

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I stumbled on the opening quote early this morning and that it got me to thinking more about vulnerability, surrender, and open-heartedness.  This — intimacy, vulnerability — has been an ongoing theme this year.  It goes well with my own word/theme for the year.  Listening.  To listen deeply, you have to open your heart, surrender the idea of listening in order to respond, and allow intimacy or connection to happen.  You have to be willing to receive, but also willing to give (your time, your attention, your openness, and the gift of non-judgment).

Two of the herd at the edge of the meadow (that’s the neighbor’s flag in the background and I’m happy to see he took down the Confederate flag). I’m not sure how many deer are out there now. At least seven does and two bucks. There are probably more we don’t see.

There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks.  Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.

~ Linda Hogan

Footprints on the beach at the Point. Some where boots or shoes, some don’t. (The pinkish color of the sand is from the sunset.)

Place, the land, does tell a story, doesn’t it?  Many stories.  We have to be willing (“patient enough, quiet enough”) to listen, to walk or sit or just be with awareness.

Treasure on the shore.

In other news… As you might have noted from my Silent Sunday post, asparagus season is almost upon us.  I found four spears sticking up out of the ground about an inch or two, not yet ready to be picked.  A cold front moved through late yesterday and that has slowed the growth.  I’ll go out before sunset and check, but I don’t think I’ll be picking any just yet.  We need warmer weather to speed things along.  I’m not in any hurry.  The heat will arrive soon enough.  Full-out asparagus season will arrive soon enough, too.

Waiting for sunset.

This particular spring reminds me a little of our first spring here.  It was chilly when we closed on the house.  The cold was how we found out the heat pump wasn’t working.  We spent a couple of days and nights here, cleaning up after the closing, and by the last night, we were pretty cold.  We hadn’t prepared well for it, bringing only one blanket with us.  I think we were lucky to have the blanket.  Things were so chaotic at that time.  It’s a wonder we remembered to bring the air mattress, the sheets, the pillows, and the blanket.  Besides, M and I had each other.  We all know that cold nights are good for cuddling.

Fishing at sunset.

I reckon that’s about it from me on this windy, bright and sunny first day of April.  April, it seems to me, is coming in like a lion.  Very blustery.  There is rain on the way tomorrow.  I think it’s part of the low that’s developing off the coast.  Not a nor’easter, they’re saying, but possibly a bomb cyclone, whatever that means.  Not much to us.  Wind and rain.  It’s the folks north of us that might see snow from it.  Even that is pretty if-y.

I’m going to go out to the dock for sunset this evening.  You’re welcome to join me.  Sunset is at 7:26 PM.  I’ll probably go out about thirty minutes before that.  It’s chilly (the high was only about 45°F today) so you’ll probably want to bundle up, including hat and gloves.  It’s cold by the water.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Deepening.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,041) Soft tissues.  I’ve caught the cold that M had last week.  My poor nose got the brunt of it with all the sniffling and sneezing.  1,042) The quietude of the early morning hours, just before sunrise when the world appears to be asleep.  1,043) Soothing soups.  1,043) Ice cream, because my sore throat feels so much better when I’m eating ice cream from the local, organic, very-friendly-to-the-cows, dairy.  It’s medicinal.  Right?  1,044) Zooming with my grandsons.  “Zooming” is appropriate in more ways than one.  They are toddlers and they zoom-zoom all over the place.  1,045) Porch naps.  I go out when the sun has warmed up the porch and sit in the anti-gravity chair pretending to read.  It’s medicinal.  Right?  😉

Slip sliding away.
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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

27 thoughts on “A Monday Meander: Place

  1. Lovely sunset photos – no two alike, ever! 🙂
    It was very blustery here today as well. Three loads of laundry done and hung – I love being able to put the sheets and towels out on the line on days like this. In winter, I miss that fresh, sweet smell.
    Hope you’re feeling better – colds are no fun, but rest and soups are. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m in the sneezy phase which is usually a sign that the cold is on its way out of my system. Annoying, but hopeful. 🙂

      I love that scent, too. There’s nothing else like the smell of sunshine and fresh air in towels and sheets. I can’t hang out the bedding now because of the pollen. Everything would come in covered in the yellow stuff. And my husband would spend his nights sneezing since he’s allergic to it. Poor guy. This is not a great time of year for him.

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  2. Place can be a character. I think yours must be. Goodness, it’s amazing how people will just get rid of things in the oddest places–anywhere but the dump. I’m glad you’re cleaning it up, though it sounds a bit like a horror novel, the way things appear…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes it IS a bit like a horror novel, Lisa. Complete with bones. 😉 I’ve talked with a few of the folks who are from here and the mentality is that “nature will take care of it.” One man on the news the other day was talking about how the river in town used to be where everyone dumped all of their garbage, and it wasn’t that long ago that they stopped.

      I think that, too, about place. It can be a character and it definitely has a voice.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! What a beautiful place! Your photos are lovely. I love the idea of a place having stories to tell if we only listen. We are nomadic, so we spend two weeks at most at a one place. We try to take advantage of our time, look and listen. It is a very cool thing when you feel intimate with a place. By the time we leave it feels like leaving an old friend. And litter!!! lol. Our bane! Such a cool thing to clean a place up. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Lindsay. 🙂 My husband and I are thinking about becoming nomads for a while when he retires in a few years. There’s so much to see and it would be nice to be able to take our time, meandering from here to there.

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  4. I am sure it sometimes feels futile when you’re picking up the trash and debris. But I think of an army of us doing the same, individually, all over the world. And I think–wow, what a difference that could make. Thank you for being such a good steward of the beautiful place you live.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The first I ever heard of a bomb cyclone was about three weeks ago. When it hit, it came as a blizzard. Worse on record. For what it might be worth.

    I love Lopez! His prose alone would grip me, but his background as a field biologist and an astute observer — quite a combination! Have you had a chance to read, “Of Wolves and Men”?

    I agree with both you and him about intimacy with a place.

    The young Australian woman, Terese, who helps me out with my blog, is studying the Aboriginal experience of the European colonists this university term. She’s become familiar with the Aboriginal attitude towards the land. A few days ago, she mentioned she’s concluded we don’t really own much in this world,we are only borrowing things for awhile. I think that ties into your remarks about leaving the world better off. If it’s not yours, it makes sense to leave it better off, I think. I mean, of course, “yours” in the sense you feel you can do anything at all that you want to do with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read it, Paul, and will add it to my reading list. (It might be there already so I’ll check that first. I think someone else recommended it, too.)

      Legally, we “own” this piece of property (I was going to write “land” but it isn’t all land — there is marsh and a pond and a lot of water). But neither my husband nor I think of it as ownership. More like caretakership (which spell check doesn’t like but I think it fits). This is the third piece of property we’ve cleaned up. Actually, it’s five if I count the houses we rented long ago and far away, and the land they were on. (I’m ready to retire from that job. lol!) I think this sense of taking care rather than owning is why we plant trees knowing we will never see them full grown. (Now that I mention it, I’m thinking we’ve probably planted over 300 trees by now.)

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  6. Robin, your love for the land shines through your camera and we get to see through it too – such a treat. I also enjoy your conversational, observational writing – bravo for the dutiful clean up – seeing all those suns, water and wildlife is just reward

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I hope you’re feeling better now, Robin. I’m sorry about all the garbage that keeps coming up out of the ground on your property, but you’re right, you’re leaving the world a better place by cleaning it up. Although it does have to go somewhere else, doesn’t it – a landfill or such? There’s no way to totally eliminate such waste entirely from our world.

    I love this idea of sense of place, and I love exploring that idea myself. You seem to have found a sense of place, deep belonging, in your home on the Eastern Shore, although I’ve sensed that you miss your home in Ohio too. I have never felt much of a sense of place, or maybe I should say, an appreciation for place, in northern Virginia, where I’ve made my home for most of the last 31 years. I still dream of other places that I’ve loved in my travels, places where I’d love to immerse myself: Greece, Portugal, Turkey, the western USA, Maine, even the northern lakes. I am still searching for that perfect place, if there is such a thing, where we could retire. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Cathy. 🙂 Yes, I still miss Ohio and I think that ultimately, I will end up back there. In the meantime, I’m finding my time on the Eastern Shore a little more enhanced now that I’ve stopped thinking in terms of temporary.

      I think I am more of a nester than a traveler, preferring to sink roots into wherever I am living. Maybe that’s because we’ve moved around so much. When my husband and I married, we moved right away to South Carolina. A few years later we were off to the Chicago area, not knowing anyone or having a place to live (and only 4 days of rental on the U-Haul that held all our stuff and no money to keep the truck longer than that). Almost few years after that, it was off to Atlanta, again not knowing anyone. Then Huntington, WV, southern Ohio (Ohio Appalachia), and finally NE Ohio. In between, we’ve spent sabbatical years in St. Louis, London (England), and West Chester (PA). Lots of travels for vacations and my husband’s work, too.

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  8. Soft tissues – yes!
    I’ve come to realize in the past few years, how I view life appears to be a step off most others’.
    Raised to think we are only stewards, not owners, of the land – only here to care for it and those who dwell in it. Tribes have quietly lived with that concept – why many descendants who have chosen to live in cities will not fence their properties.
    It’s important as you say, to BE in and of a place. Note, observe, assist it. Without that, little balance and understanding will come to a person – I think anyway – surroundings/the environment where you are – and how you relate to each other is so important.
    May eventually be the key to why so many young are so violent – some sort of innate/cellular level response to what it not natural and nursing body and soul?
    Love your quotes as always

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Place and feeling connected to place is important for us human being. It grounds us,literally and figuratively. Looks like you live in a lovely place – apart from all the garbage that pops out. Keep enjoying the spring. Thank you for showing your place.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Listening was in one of your post. I was intrigued you chose this as your word for the year. Would be a better world if more people listened without judgement.

    As a contractor for Army Missile Command, eons ago, the last class I taught was “How to Listen”, strangely enough to the FBI.

    You writing is lovely and your photographs stunning.

    Like

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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