September 2017, Truro, MA
Falling Into Place
You don’t intend to but you just do. You fall in love. You fall deeply, but not madly, in love. Loving a PLACE produces no madness. Falling in love with a PLACE is blissful, exquisitely somatic and “holy shit” humbling. PLACES don’t court you; they grab you without sizing you up. There is little room for mind, will or volition to get too full of itself; instead you contract (into your smallness) and expand (into your vastness) while being sung to by a muse named Wonder.
Place can root you down into direct sensation so quickly, so thoroughly that before you have time to step back into the world of concept you are deep inside the pink/gold/tangerine sky and seal heads surfacing sunset over Race Point.
There is little lens and (even less if your phone is put down) and there is no desire to relay the stun of it all. You give up on hoarding the experience because beauty, wonder and nature’s multitudes won’t be hoarded. There is just the melting into PLACE and any wistfulness that sneaks through the membrane of the raw moment fades as soon as you own it, name it and see if for what it is. Desire and the desire to grasp.
Waves loosen grasping. Dunes shift it and the light that plays with cloud, sea, sun, and refraction whispers, “You don’t stand a chance; you are not solid, so let this love you.”
What? Let it love me?
Human to human love is astoundingly strong and complicated. Personality, desire, projection and expectation can’t help but mix to make relationships, of all sorts, fraught.
Love of PLACE is not necessarily fraught with the sword wielding “I, Me, Mine”. Love of PLACE is complex, multi-textured, layered with both solid and frothy memories but it is not complicated. Complexity and complication are different.
Letting a PLACE love you turns you into a steward. Stewardship is not just doing the right thing by caring for a PLACE; stewardship is the result of being loved by a PLACE.
‘What, you might say, the ocean, rivers, beach, forest and lake do not- and cannot- love you! What an idiotic human- centric thing to say! “
And my response to this might be:
“Stop thinking like an idiotic, human-centric human and let a PLACE penetrate your being! Be still. Don’t utter a word. Without trying too hard, allow yourself to empty out of yourself. You might tell yourself that you are loving a PLACE but the truth is that the PLACE is loving you.
Do the tidal flats hold any awareness of Donna? No. Do the banks of the Hudson feel my presence? No. Do the elks feeding up on the alpine plains in Rocky Mountain National Park care about me? No. But the fact is, this all exists and because I am receiving this wondrous beauty, I am experiencing unfettered love. The permeable membrane of this here Donna woman is being embraced in PLACE and it won’t let me go. And I want to hold it with something that feels less like grasping and more like miles- deep gratitude and protectiveness.
Is Stewardship the result of loving a PLACE or being loved by a PLACE?
What PLACES have held, or hold you? If you want to share a photo or a few words about a PLACE that nourishes you, please contact me. Stay tuned as I move my new project titled: Stewards of Our Land and Seas from inspiration into execution. ~~ Donna ~~~