There are places we spend much of our time in—home, office, classroom. There are those we frequent upon occasion, and others we visit too rarely. Some places we can never return to again—they’re no longer on the map, or they’re too far in the past, or, perhaps, we may have been exiled from them. I think these days of the world’s refugees—the people who can never return home to their countries, their towns, neighborhoods, homes.
Certain places exist not only externally and in memory but within us—those are the places that inhabit us, much in the way love does and, sometimes, hunger, longing. We may carry them like heavy suitcases we dream of putting down but know we never will. We may carry them so lightly that at times it’s as if they’re not inside. Ah, but there’s the corner of the old house; I feel it now.
The place I carry within most distinctly is Jacks Peak Park. The trees are there in the woods not far from my house, of course, yet they aren’t only up that hill because I hold them too. And thanks to a recent acquisition, the Monterey Regional Parks District holds more of them than were held in public trust before. About 900 acres more! It’s land on either side of the official park that I walk frequently, and it’s stunningly beautiful, heavily treed.
What places to you carry within you? Where is your here? How long have these places lived existed within? How do you carry these locales? And what is it about them that’s gotten in? At Jacks Peak, it’s how the wind sounds like a child one day and like an old man the next; how the trees are individuals and how together they form family; how I can walk and walk and walk; and how the squirrels leap from branch to branch. That place has never, not once, made me unwelcome.
Write me and let me know your such places. I’d like to make a written mosaic of them that I’ll post. (firstname.lastname@example.org)