I call them magic places.
The places that grab you, and hold on to you. They stay in your mind’s eye. They tug at your heart. They make you feel warm, pleasant, happy, content, safe. They stay within you forever.
They are addicting. You want to go again and again to see them.
I have a long list of magic places. Must come with age. Traveling sure helps.
My very first magic place was the sky.
On my back in a high meadow deep in the Black Forest of Germany. Looking at the white clouds forming and unforming, it was the first time I felt it. The Red Thread. The thing that is right. The thing that leads you, the righteous path through life. The thing that gives you peace.
A few years later I was sitting in the dunes facing the North Sea when I was overcome by utter peace. I connected. I knew I was on the right path, heading the right way. As a troubled teenager I was beyond grateful for that knowledge.
Then a dream. I am standing on a sandy road below a dirt bank, maybe in a wash or gully on as sunny day. The bank above is heavily wooded but not forbidding. Above that a roof. I feel total peace.
Spain, Formentera, one of the Baleares Islands. Standing by the side of the road waiting for the bus to take me back to the harbor. A red clay bank with Pinon bordering the road on one side. Hot, Dry. My first time smelling hot Pinion. Knowing right then and there that I will live some day where it smells like that. And much later I will.
Eastern Turkey, driving through a rocky region that was so inviting to stay a while. But the bus kept rolling.
Another bus. Winding up the steep mountains. And then the view. To my left in the golden evening light deep down below the golden plains of India. The road, the bus , I – so incredibly high up. And then I look right and there, ten time higher yet, the peaks of the Himalayas.
A hillside in Manali, northern India, ancient dark wooden houses, giant trees, high, snowy mountains up above.
Greece, an island, white houses, cobble stone road, Honeysuckle sweetening the air. A sea so blue, it seems unreal.
Utah. Bryce Canyon. God’s country.
Arizona, the Chiricahuas.
Havasupai. Deep in the Grand Canyon. Paradise. Turquoise waters. Powerful waterfalls. And a million little waterfalls. I pick one and make it my own.
Arizona, the Granite Dells. Watson Lake.
Here I lingered. 25 years I stayed. No, I did not feel the magic every day. There were days where I was so preoccupied with life’s little nastiness-es that I did not even see the rocks. But walking I felt it. I walked through the season, years, dogs lives. The rocks set me right when things were not going well. They listened to my pleas, gave me the space to work things out. Approved of my choices. Even the choice to leave them. They know they are still with me.
It is these places that make me a rich soul.