“ When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about. ” – Rumi
I overheard two young girls talking while out on the seawall on a Spring day turned into Summer (prompting thoughts of global warming to be mulled over later!) lost in their magical world, each one clutching discarded mussel shells in various shades of lavender and indigo blue. The words overheard were whether to return their treasures back to nature or keep them and see if they make friends with other found booty. This instantly transported me back to a sense of place, where one could be on a stretch of beach for hours, exploring and picking up the various gifts of nature with only small breaks needed for sips of water and those special snacks reserved for outdoor fun!
A sense of place can be found anywhere, I find that I have many, some are found on the edges of Vancouver Island especially when I’m experiencing the stillness in the forest surrounding the resort of Tigh-Na-Mara, the sub-tropical fishing villages of Mexico grown up into resort destinations or a funky coffee bar stumbled upon in any given vibrant city. Just this morning, Huguette and I were talking about the energy that coffee bars, tea houses or bodegas add to a city – a sense of place where one can find a perch to sit on for some contemplation, create a small sacred space for writing (or drawing), a place to study or cross off the many to-do’s on one’s list. We have several such spaces here in the West End but we’re greedy for more and memories of other cities like San Francisco, New York and Paris entice us still with their many offerings.
Several dear friends and neighbours have moved or will be moving shortly to places that are calling or have already called to them, finding their sense of place on the Gulf Islands or in the vast country of their birth, Australia. Sometimes we are called to a place or time and do not know why, all we know is that we will forever be changed and while we are in the midst of it, the hunger will rise up and we will once again find ourselves on another journey to a sense of place.
Journal Entry: November 26, 1999 – day one of the journey to our Mexican sense of place
I’m writing down my thoughts in a small room at the Hotel Posada de Roger in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Terry is lying down beside me on the double bed, we also have two single beds! The other furniture is quite old and worn. There is one small oil painting on the wall, a very pretty scene – lots of green trees and hills. In the background there seems to be a colonial city. It has a dark brown wooden frame and it is framed itself by two grilled windows. These windows overlook a bar – our rest is serenaded by live music, laughter, the resident rooster and traffic. This is a quiet room, Rosy says, who works at the front desk! This is what we wanted – to experience a slice of life in old Vallarta. It feels good.
We had a wonderful flight from Vancouver, it has started us off on the right foot. Tomorrow we begin three weeks at Terry’s former boss’s house called Villa Lucero. Bonnie often opens her home to friends and family, she gave Terry a good price for us to start our journey – it promises to be an experience of a lifetime. I can just feel myself relaxing, tanning and just enjoying…
Journal Entry: December 02, 1999 – Villa Lucero
It’s been a busy few days! Getting used to living in a large home and a Mexican community up in the hills. Other people’s homes are above and beside us, we can actually hear all their activities of daily living. We are almost living right with them and their animals! Every day and night we can hear the dogs, cats, roosters and pigeons. It is like a church choir. Threaded throughout this is children’s laughter, adults and children singing, the scent of good food cooking and music. This part of the world is alive!
I’m writing this down as we eat a simple breakfast out on the terrace overlooking the sparkling blue bay, every day so far, beautiful and sunny. We are so far away from the winter rain and cold of Vancouver.