A Place Where I Find Peace

Day 6 of the Month of March photojournal

There is a children’s book that has a lot of meaning for me titled, “All The Places To Love” that is narrated by a young boy who was taught by each beloved member of his family about their favorite places. It begins:

On the day I was born my grandmother wrapped me in a blanket made from the wool of her sheep. She held me up in the open window so that what I heard first was the wind. What I saw first were all the places to love: The valley, the river falling down over rocks, the hilltop where the blueberries grew. My grandfather was painting in the barn, and when he saw me he cried. He carved my name – ELI – on a rafter beside his name and grandmother’s name and the names of my papa and mama.

He goes on to describe why his mother’s favorite place is the blueberry barren, why his grandmother loves the river and his father loves the fields he plows, and why – even though his grandfather has lived in the city and by the sea, his favorite place is the barn and he asks his grandson, “where else can the soft sound of cows chewing make all the difference in the world?” And then Eli’s sister is born and he talks about how when she’s old enough, he’s going to show her all the places to love, especially his own favorite place, the marsh. The book concludes with:

All the places to love are here, I’ll tell her, no matter where you may live. Where else, I will say, does an old turtle crossing the path make all the difference in the world?

This book always makes me cry. Not just the exquisite paintings, and the beautiful prose, or even the storyline told from the point of view of a child that is clearly well-loved, but that it speaks to me of so many places that I love. There is not just one place that I find peace. So this photo entry will be several pictures of All My Places That I Love (and that bring me peace.)

This was taken from my front yard when I lived on Pender Island, in B.C. I was lucky enough to live in a place, wake up and go to sleep and step outside my door in a place where there was this much beauty everywhere my eyes looked. Pender Island, either from Mt. Norman, or Mt. Elizabeth, Medicine Beach or the trail leading to it, the woods that the disc golf park sits in….its all there and the peace it offered filled me up, and held me during a time of extreme stress and difficulty. I always long for my island, even though I have lived away from there now, longer than I lived there.

 

Not necessarily THESE waterfalls…but wild water – what I call moving water that is not contained and is in natural places –  is where I go when I need to find my center. When I can, I stand in the falls. I feel washed clean, invigorated, and reconnected to myself and to the earth.

 

 

I remember traveling as early as 3 years old with my parents and sister by canoe around the lakes and waterways of Puget Sound – Lake Washington, Lake Union, the Arboretum, the slough…and all around the Pacific Northwest when we went camping. I now have my parents Old Town Camper canoe, and love the quiet stillness of paddling in the cove and around Pender when I lived there, and now through the wetlands and on the river. Often we think of peacefulness as synonymous with stillness, but in the canoe its not so. There is movement, and sound, and rhythm. Sometimes wind, and challenge and paddling against the current. But always peace.

 

Trees. Always trees. ‘Nuf said.

 

And always the ocean.

These last two were taken at Cape Alava, three miles in from Lake Ozette on the Olympic Peninsula. I was camping/hiking, but left the next day because of rain.

So, really, I love the pacific northwest. All the places to love are here, I say. No matter where I may live. The quiet cove where the sound of otters on the dock can wake me in the morning, the waterfalls that drown out all but the knowing of myself, the river that carries playful opportunities to witness life from a less-known perspective, and the gentle giants of the forest that protect and cradle my soul, and the violent and mysterious ocean that steadies me and reminds me of Who I Am.

Where else can a glimpse of a lion’s mane jellyfish just below the surface make all the difference in the world?

2 Comments

  1. What a beautiful post, Dylan!

    I live in the woods, next to a creek, far away from pretty much everybody. I often take it for granted, or even get annoyed that I’m so far from “everything”. This is a good reminder to be where I am.

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