|Weekly Updates July 11, 2014|
What is your Native Land?
……. a note from Stacy
I have always found the title of one of poet Adrienne Rich’s collections — “Your Native Land, Your Life” intriguing. It makes me consider “what is my native landscape?” What landscape most resonates with my soul?
For years, it has been a pine forest for me. Not just any pine forest but the white pine forests of northern Minnesota. That has always been my native land, the landscape of my soul. Huge white pines standing with straight backs, arm extended out in praise, reaching skyward with fingers of green new growth ready for every nuthatch or woodpecker that comes along. And have you ever noticed how quiet a pine forest is? Go into a grove of these prayerful giants holding their pose of praise and notice how quiet it is. A deciduous forest is restless. Leaves rustle on limbs and crackle when fallen and shriveled under foot. But there is hush in a pine grove. Breeze moves quietly through green needles on branches and fallen ones cushion the sound of footsteps’ tread. I could go on about the smell and the cool as well, but you get the idea. My native land, my life has always been a white pine grove.But last week, I met the seascape of Cape Cod again for the first time.
Again for the first time because while I had been to the Cape beaches many times this time was somehow different. I did not have little ones to hover over, worrying about the undertow or scanning the sea for the dorsal fin of a hungry shark. For whatever reason, this time on the beach I could relax. And not only relax, but go for a good long walk down the beach by myself as well!
And when I did I discovered something that I had never seen before. A landscape I had seen but never really noticed re-introduced itself to me.
I will write more about how the green caped bluffs, the stark and staring cliffs, the dry and blemish-less beach, the turbulent and churning waters and the unfathomable of the distant deep spoke to different parts of my whole self. And I will write more about how sea met sand in a foam as hope-filled as a bride’s veil.
But right now, I want to ask you. What is your native land, your soul scape? Is it a seascape? Is it a pine grove? Is it Manhattan in the morning or Boston as the sun sets?
The reason I ask and the reason I think Rich suggested that we may indeed have a native land is that finding such a scape is to find a place of rest, a homeostasis of the soul. And why could that be important? Well it can be the place we return to when we are far from where we want to be. It can be the place we turn to when the doctor takes the ultrasound wand across the breast where one’s PCP detected a concerning lump. It can be the place we return to when we feel that “deep sadness” that suffocating loneliness that haunts us on the edge of our days.
These landscapes of our soul are not escapes. They are a homecoming. A return to that deep knowing of place and belonging and taking up our place in the family of all things as Mary Oliver says.
So what is your Native Land? Can you spend time there this summer? If you do not know what that is for you, could you look for it this summer, looking with your heart as well as your eyes?
If you do spend time in your native land, would you be willing to tell us about it? Send me your reflection or a picture of it and we will post it on our Friday blast for others to share.
Peace to you – Stacy