Everyone has at least one happy place, I hope. A place that lifts your cares, makes you take deep breaths, makes you smile even when you’re sad. Maybe it’s a specific bench in a park. Maybe it’s the hammock in your back yard, or a particular street in a particular city. Maybe it’s more general — the mountains. New England. On a boat.
For me, it is by the ocean. A cliche maybe, but I don’t care.
For years now I’ve lived far away from the ocean, but growing up it was always right there. In the house we lived in in Boston, I could see the ocean from the window of the third floor bedroom. I could smell the salty air–or the stink of low tide–from my room. When we moved out of the city, the ocean wasn’t quite that close, but it was near enough–a fifteen minute drive could put me right at the sea wall or out walking on the sand.
I took it for granted until I was an adult because I had never not been able to reach my happy place easily.
Not too long after Matt and I moved to DC, I realized that I hadn’t seen the ocean in months — the longest I’d ever gone in my life without being by the sea. It was not a good realization. It’s even more special now when I actually do get there, because I know how long it could be before I return.
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always our self we find at the sea. –e.e. cummings
For Matt, it is the woods. In the fall, when we went in search of the sea, we drove down this narrow road through the middle of the first true forest we’d seen in England. Matt could see into the trees and just said, I want to go there.
He knows what he’s doing, there, too. Matt is the best at fort-building, tree-climbing, making bows and arrows out of found sticks and twine, and making camp fires. (He’s the Captain of my Zombie Apocalypse team for sure.)
The clearest way into the Universe is through a Forest wilderness. –John Muir
I love watching my children for signs that they’ve found one of their happy places, too.
I hope that traveling will allow them to really decide and know what kind of place makes them feel most at peace and most alive.