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A Monday meander: Refuge

At sunrise this morning.

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

Greeting the soft and foggy morning with me today.  (That’s a bunny in the background, on the left.)

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.

Ground fog softening the future woods.

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

The moon kept us company before the sun came up over the trees.

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.

Such a contrast between the cold blue and white of the moon, and the golden light of the sun.

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.

One more, because it was so beautiful.

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.

In the flower garden.

Where do you find sanctuary?  What activities are a refuge for you?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

The heart of a flower.

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.  🙂

Peaked and on their way out now. We’ll see them again next year.

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.

Resting on the hostas.

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.

29 thoughts on “A Monday meander: Refuge

  1. We all need places to go where peace and beauty bathes us – your blog is such a place Robin. And often you introduce me to writers and poets that open my world further. A while back you included excerpts from The Overstory, which I then purchased on Audible and, initially, listened to while painting, then listened to every available moment of the day. That book changed the way I see trees and I thought I ‘saw’ trees very well. I think it’s a very important book and I thank you for the introduction. Now I am going to go and look up Robert Macfarlane 🙂 I see you are reading the Pendragon series. Do you know ‘The Mists of Avalon’ by the late Marion Zimmer Bradley? This is an inspired telling of the legend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Pauline. 🙂 I read “The Mists of Avalon” (and the rest of the books in the series) years and years ago. I was just telling M that it seems I can never get enough of the retelling of the stories of Merlin and Arthur. I’ve read so many of them. I prefer Marion Zimmer Bradley’s version, to be honest. Nothing else I’ve read seems to be as good. “The Overstory” was wonderful, wasn’t it? I thought I saw and knew trees well, too, until I’d read that book. I ended up getting a couple of other books about trees as a result of reading “The Overstory.” I think you’ll like Robert Macfarlane. I’ve started following him on Twitter (I have culled my Twitter feed and gone looking for the good stuff rather than negativity that often prevails there). He tweets out a word of the day, usually with a picture or two, that relates to nature or landscape. Here is today’s:

      Word of the day: “thrips” — aka “thunderflies”, “storm bugs”; those tiny black insects that swarm on humid midsummer days––often drawn to brightly coloured clothes, or sticking to sweaty skin.
      Thrips (from the ancient Greek θρίψ, “woodworm”) have been around since the Permian.

      ~ @RobGMcfarlane

      I’m learning a lot of new words through him. I just ordered his book “The Lost Words: A Spell Book.” The book was written and illustrated to conjure back words that children (and maybe adults as well) seem to be missing from their vocabulary these days. It looks enchanting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s a reason for me to go back on Twitter! (I’ve left all social media platforms except the blogs I follow) I’ve ordered ‘Underland’ – it seemed to go so well with ‘Overstory’ how could I not? And I’ll look The Lost Words up also. Thanks for sharing all this.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. That was a treat Robin, thank you so much!! I have now blown the book budget for the next three months and purchased a copy of ‘The Lost Words’ as well as the Audible edition of ‘Underland’. And subscribed to a new online magazine……. Happy days 🙂 ❤

            Liked by 1 person

  2. “The Mists” is a good read.
    Some sanctuary or refuge is more important than ever now – with all the discord, noise, and those seeking to create conflict and chaos. You have to walk away and find balance – then truth and hope will find be willing to find you.
    That soft ground fog image is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome, and thank you for stopping by PhilosopherMouse. 🙂 I think walking away for a while is the only good way to sort through the noise in order to find truth and hope.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. For me, anything outdoors–gardening, cycling, kayaking, but also baking, cooking, reading and meditation are ways to center and find peace. And I must also look up McFarlane. I know it isn’t the guy from the Reagan administration!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really loved this post, Robin, both words and photos. The portrait of the doe is exquisite – she is looking directly at you and her form is perfect – framable!
    I live in my sanctuary of 7 acres, plus acres of borrowed landscape. I feel so blessed to walk out the door, to the waterfall, river, or woods, so close by. Summer is delightful with the gardens, as well. It amazes me how I can feel the tension leaving my body within minutes of entering the wooded path. What a gift!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. These photos are even more stunning that usual, Robin.
    I think my go-to sanctuary is in reading a novel–though I don’t read for hours and hours the way I used to. For my dVerse prompt yesterday, I used a Brainpickings article on a book by Robert Macfarlane (and illustrator whose name I don’t remember right now) called Lost Words. It looks beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Merril. 🙂 Novels are a sanctuary for me, too. I’m not able to read for hours and hours anymore, either. I read before going to sleep and I think my brain and body now use that as a cue to fall asleep. I just ordered Lost Words. It looks wonderful. Also, as I mentioned to Pauline, I started following Macfarlane on Twitter where he tweets a word of the day, sometimes unusual words about nature or landscapes.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have some peaked too! (I never remember their names, except, those ones that grow wild along the highway,or used to do so.) The addict or alcoholic, who is actually sick, believes all sorts of excuses that mental obsession feeds them so that the body gets that ‘allergy’ induced NEED for MORE, once that first drop passes the lips. All those thinks about why, after that, are lies of dis ease. For me, it’s a trick to even follow along talking about it. I often find that the reasons I THINK I do/did a thing, also contain those curious mental twists that create a reality I believe is real, until I find out otherwise and grow, look about that landscape you spoke of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They still grow wild along the highways here, Elisa. Yes, it’s true about addiction and the mental obsession that the brain generates. When I quit smoking, I referred to those “voices” (thoughts) as the committee. They would hold great, loud meetings, pontificating and whining and giving all the great good reasons why I should have just one cigarette. Ha. As if I could have had “just one.” The interesting thing about the committee is that if you put a manager in charge of them, a stern type who tells them a firm no, they will go away. For a little while.

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  7. Beautiful photos, Robin. They dwarf the sad news that is our current reality. Nature, books that inspire, sitting quietly with a cat or two leaning in closely, music with no lyrics, cooking; these are a few of the ways I find peace. Well…and then there’s that graduation this past weekend which brought so much joy. There was no room for crazy in the midst of all of that love. Thank you for sharing these stunning images. They, too, are peace for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The green in fog, the gold in morning light, the moon, the creatures – Robin, you reveal a sacred sanctuary and share it with us. I no longer turn on the news in the morning; I go out into the garden instead and now my jaw is more relaxed and my neck doesn’t hurt as much. I catch up with the news late in the day but then go out later with a glass of wine to watch the fireflies rise up into the woods for hours – I’m sleeping better and dreaming more. Nature is my sanctuary and the garden will survive with a little less intervention from me. Visiting here helps – your words take my thoughts in new directions and your images bring a long sigh of relief and a smile from me. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such a beautiful comment, Lynn. I apologize for taking so long to acknowledge it. It’s obvious by the beauty that your garden is a sanctuary for you. Peace to you, too. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Your photos are a refuge in themselves. I love to cook for others – I agree with you that it is a way of showing our love. A walk with Zeke in a quiet area is meditative in itself. We have hit the hot and muggy here so quickly and without warning. Walks are kept to a minimum as Zeke would just melt. I promise him to walk later in the evening, and then it rains. Have to go with Mother Nature’s flow!
    Always a pleasure to get lost in your meanderings. That golden light was positively divine.

    Liked by 1 person

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