MAKING IT YOURS

In her second book, Happy the Land, Louise Dickinson Rich talks about special places:

“Have you ever seen a place—a house, a meadow lying lazy in the sun, a walled garden, a reedy bend of river—and felt, finally and beyond argument, “That’s mine”?  It might have been only a glimpse from a train window of a place you knew you’d never again lay eyes on, but something quick and compelling sprang up in the heart at the sight, and when you were past you’d left a part of yourself there, forever….It was yours.”

I’ve been pondering this for a couple of weeks, wondering if I have such a place.  Two places immediately come to mind, but they are both from long ago, when I was in grad school.  One was a garden that was for some unknown purpose, supposedly used by the science school. Up on a hill, all by itself.  It was closed to us, by a strong chain-link fence. But every evening, my friend and I would stroll up there to chat and to breathe some fresh humid air.  We could walk the perimeter of the garden and smell the flowering bushes.  There was always a bunny or two on the way.

It was our place; no one else seemed to even know it existed.

Sometimes she and I drove to the former home of artist T.C. Steele and sat down to talk or read there.  It is a state historic site of Indiana, a beautiful and quiet place of trees and the House of the Singing Winds.  Oddly enough, we never paid money to see inside the buildings; we just sat and enjoyed.  We were the only ones there.

His wife left an inscription for visitors, and I always felt like it was written just for me:

“Would that you could walk these trails often—and many times alone.  Where T.C. Steele sought and found inspiration for his work, I am hoping that you can find some for yours, no matter what it may be.”

I always kind of wished I could tell her how true that became!

Brown County, Indiana

 

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