Just some thoughts about space

What is it about places that makes them find their way into your soul? A few weeks ago, James and I went down to Tahoe for my grandma’s memorial — the first time that he’s ever been to my portion of Lake Tahoe. And yes, I think of it as mine: the place of lazy summers, running free, exploring barefoot, daily swimming. The unpaved and wild place with pine pitch to coat the calluses on your toes, chickadees and nuthatch at the bird feeder, card games with Grampy and watermelon for lunch.

Desolation Wilderness(Desolation Wilderness, near South Lake Tahoe — one of the best places ever)

Tahoe has evolved since I’ve been going there, of course. Like the rest of the world, it’s largely paved now; it’s more developed, less scrappy. I’ve evolved too. I’m also more developed and less scrappy, I imagine, a little less idealistic, perhaps, or maybe a little more boring and old (though I hope not too much!:)

But those Tahoe pines, that Sierra granite, the blue blue lakes, the Stellar’s jays, the coyotes at night, the sunset over the mountains, the stars. Those are an ingrained part of my soul, and being amidst it again feels like being home. Funny, since Tahoe was never really home but a summer home-away-from-home. But the smell, the dry air, the crunch of pine needles and dry lichen underfoot — somehow, all that feels right, like a familiar hug.

sugar pine cone(and it wouldn’t be Tahoe without the sugar pines!)

Portland is my home too, though. I have a feeling that if I were away for long, the red cedars, the doug-fir, the riot of ferns and explosion of edible berries, the moist earth and mossy logs– that, too, would feel like a missing part of my soul. When we met again, I would greet it all the same way I would greet the sugar pines and the unforgiving and beautiful granite.

How lovely, this life where little pieces of the world worm their way into your heart and never let you go, where many places are home and you can let them all embrace you in turn.



  1. As the poet Gary Soto (I believe) said, “we are our geography.”

    Mais tu l’as dit beaucoup mieux!

    • Aw, shucks! :) Merci! :)

      (Funny, I know Gary Soto not as a poet but as an author of young adult novels — guess that’s what happens when you teach 7th grade?)

  2. Great post.

    “somehow, all that feels right, like a familiar hug”

    I love visiting all those places that I grew in – or rather, those places that grew me, or rather, taught me – too. Just day dreaming about them on a busy day feels like a hug, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.