As I envisage it, landscape projects into us not like a jetty or peninsula, finite and bounded in its volume and reach, but instead as a kind of sunlight, flickeringly unmappable in its plays yet often quickening and illuminating. We are adept, if occasionally embarrassed, at saying what we make of places — but we are far less good at saying what place makes of us. For some time now it has seemed to me that the two questions we should ask of any strong landscape are these: firstly, what do I know when I am in this place that I can know nowhere else? And then, vainly, what does this place know of me that I cannot know of myself?
~ Robert Macfarlane
After a lovely weekend of moderate, beautiful days, today has become more summer-like here on the Eastern Shore. The humidity and temperatures are on the rise and will continue to rise throughout the week (probably well into the weekend). It’s dry and we’re in need of rain. That’s the way of things here. Deluge followed by drought. We’ve been lucky this year. Spring was relatively mild with a pattern of warming and then cooling off. Perhaps we’re finished with that for now. I don’t know. I haven’t been paying attention to the long range forecasts wherein they try to predict upcoming patterns.
We lack – we need – a term for those places where one experiences a ‘transition’ from a known landscape… into ‘another world’: somewhere we feel and think significantly differently. They exist even in familiar landscapes: there when you cross a certain watershed, recline or snowline, or enter rain, storm or mist. Such moments are rites of passage that reconfigure local geographics, leaving known places outlandish or quickened, revealing continents within counties.
~ Robert Macfarlane
I have so much I want to write about. Children separated from their parents, put in cages, sleeping on floors, children who some think are undeserving of basic necessities such as soap and toothpaste. Various plans for helping those who are practically bankrupted by student loans. The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team beating Spain today and advancing to the quarterfinals in the Women’s World Cup. Pacific gray whales dying in large numbers. An oil spill that has lasted more than fourteen years. Corruption, the banging of the war drum, another allegation of sexual assault (let’s just call it what it is — rape), a ridiculous number of candidates running for president, the reality show we’re living in where drama and going viral are what counts as important.
But I know you don’t come here for such things so I do little more than touch on those subjects (as I did above). We all need some sort of retreat or sanctuary, and I’ve always tried to provide that to family and guests who come to visit with us. I learned a lot about sanctuary or finding a place of refuge during the Art of Self Care course I participated in during the beginning months of this year. It’s good to have some place where you can relax and let go of the world, a place where you’re not always pushing or working towards your edge. Not just a physical place, although that is helpful. An inner place or a hobby/habit that brings you into the flow of the present and out of the worries of the world. You can’t spend all your time there, of course. It’s tidal, an ebb and flow, between work/change/growth and rest/refuge/relaxation. A balancing act, swaying from one side to the other.
Yoga, meditation, photography, drawing mandalas, and writing are refuges for me. Cooking can be that way, too. I love to cook for others. There is something about preparing food that feels like love to me. I’d like to say that gardening is another activity where I find a sense of peace. Sometimes it is but mostly, it’s work. There are other forms of refuge. Family, friends, love in all its forms (and, some say, it’s all love, whether we recognize it or not). Walks in the woods where the trees put out chemicals that help us relax, or on the beach where the waves and salt air lull us into peaceful states of being. Any place in nature, for the most part. I think we and what we refer to as nature are designed that way, but a lot of us have forgotten.
Refuge, or sanctuary, is, maybe, what a lot of folks are looking for when they dive into an addiction of some kind, be it food, alcohol, drugs, social media, or the drama of the news cycle. Addiction has a tendency to turn on the addicted, though, creating its own self-perpetuating cycles of need and release.
Where do you find sanctuary? What activities are a refuge for you? Leave me a comment and let me know.
Thank you for stopping by today for a short meander. I’d like to stay and meander some more but there are other things I need to get done today. The sunsets have been really pretty lately, partly because of the haze in the air. Let’s meet at the Point this evening. Sunset is at 8:30 PM. Wear your bathing suit if you want to go for a swim. The water is pretty warm now, but still cool enough to be refreshing.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,091) M, always and forever. 1,092) Homemade pickles. 1,093) All the wonderful veggies we picked up at the local farmers markets over the weekend. 1,094) Hummingbird moths in the garden. 1,095) Cantaloupe, watermelon, blueberries, and peaches. We are eating really well these days.