On this blog I’ve attempted on numerous occasions to put into words the feeling I get when I go to my favorite places – like the Grand Tetons shown in the picture above.
I say I “love‘ these places, but what does that mean? It’s one thing to say these marvels of nature are pretty to look at, but what is it that brings me back again and again?
Today I read a wonderful piece in the NY Times by Laura Dave that defines it perfectly. Dave was writing about losing her identity, both literally and figuratively, and relocating it via a spontaneous detour to Big Sur in California.
She originally visited there when she was a child, and had “the strongest visceral reaction I’d had to any place in the world“. A subsequent visit three years ago brought on a reminder of “your own humanity“.
This most recent visit, at a time of doubt and uncertainty, produced the discovery she needed:
“…….sitting on that terrace, the peacefulness that enveloped me when I stepped into the restaurant began changing into a kind of bedrock familiarity, and all at once I felt completely like myself — not the self who had been tested, or the self who was still figuring out where she was going next. But the one beneath all that, the self I had become acutely aware of my first time in Big Sur, the girl who was in awe of the world around her and her place in it.”
It was a strangely familiar story to me – about 11 years ago I had a very similar reaction when I first saw the Tetons – this absolute sense of awe, and the clearest perspective of my path and purpose I’d ever experienced.
And here’s the ironic thing (or maybe not so ironic) – 6 years later, fate brought me back, for business purposes no less. And that “clarity” returned with another view of those mountains.
I’ve been there on 7 occasions now, and the thrill is the same every time. And the revitalization that occurs always seems to happen exactly when I need it. Just like for Laura Dave with Big Sur.
She puts it oh so right with this summation:
“Maybe this is what we get in life, a few great loves: loves that return us to ourselves when we need it most. And maybe some of those loves aren’t people, but places — real and adopted homes — that fill us up with light and energy and hope at moments when we feel especially tired or lost. That is the beauty of love in all its forms. We don’t know when or how it is going to save us.”
Here’s to all the loves in our lives, both with and without a pulse.