Friday, March 16, 2012

surrounded by nature

Until I was seven, we lived in a house in Virginia, surrounded by woods. My strongest early childhood memories are of being in the forest with my dog, peering down (not far, since I was small) at ferns, may apples, and Virginia bluebells; and up at the light slanting through trees.

From ages 7 to 14 I lived in a house on the Severn River in Maryland, and then in one surrounded by hills covered with olive trees, poppies, and mustard flowers in California.

Much of my childhood was spent outside. Even today, I feel the most comfortable, the most myself, when I am surrounded by nature.

Two weeks ago I was at this beach in South Carolina, with no other people in sight. It was a sunny windy day.

The sand blew so hard I thought of tales of sandstorms in the desert.

Mesmerizing patterns formed.

I'm sure that the woods, water, and hills of my childhood are why, the first time we saw our property in the Catskills it resonated so deeply with me, and continues to do so eleven years later.

Is there a place you feel the most yourself?

I am staying in Massachusetts this weekend, thinking about going to the New England Aquarium...

Enjoy your weekend!

All pictures, except the first and last were taken by me in South Carolina. The first one is credited, the last I took on our property in the Catskills.


  1. I always thought the ocean was home, even though I'd lived in the Hudson Valley my whole life. But then, as an adult, something changed. In 2006 I temporarily moved to Baltimore, MD for a year. I remember coming up to house hunt after being gone 7 months of that year, getting off the Thruway on exit 21 and literally bursting into tears when I saw the Catskills. That's when I realized this is home, this is where I'm 'me'.

    Have a great Massachusetts weekend!

  2. Lovely photos... aren't the patterns you can find in nature incredible? :)

  3. Hello Jen:
    What an idyllic childhood it sounds to have been. And now what beautiful beaches and how wonderful to have had all that space to yourself. Today, looking down on the Danube bend from the woods high above Visegrád on a lovely spring day, we really thought that this is perfection!!

  4. Lovely photos and what a wonderful place to have been brought up.You are living in a pretty gorgeous place too in the Catskills by the looks of it on a weekend.Enjoy whatever you do this weekend!

  5. Before I went to bed I read your post last night, and I was thinking about your question,"Is there a place you feel the most yourself?" I like nature but I cant point out one specific place, though my travel in US( eight years ago already)and the nature was so huge and I'll never forget it.

  6. I love being outside in the woods!

  7. The beach has always brought such peace to body and soul. I am at a loss for words to describe these feelings. Now at this stage and age of my life I am able to look back over all the wonderful places that have been a part of making me the person I am. The Georgia red clay hills I grew up around, the wildness and beauty of the Chattahoochee River of my youth and the other creeks and rivers around me,the North Georgia mountains, the sandy coastal plains of South Georgia mesh together to form the geography of who I am. I too have a special childhood memory of walking through a cool wooded area filled with dappled sunlight with my favorite aunts and my mother looking for wild violets. I don't remember the conversation or whether we found the illusive violets, but I remember the love and companionship of that Sunday afternoon.

  8. Hi Jen,

    I enjoyed the memories of your youth. It's special to read how they are all connected with nature.

    The beach looks beautiful. I think the place I feel most myself is at home with my husband and children or in my garden. If it has to be a country of part of a country it must be England! For it's history, countryside & culture. It always makes me happy visiting.

    Enjoy your time in Massachusetts

  9. what a beautiful beachscape. and a lovely little trip through your childhood. my mother lived in the same spots as you when she was a child and young woman.
    the landscapes of childhood shape us so profoundly.
    have a wonderful new england weekend.

  10. the sand photos are absolutely magical... and the fact you were there all by yourself...
    where do I feel most myself.... that's a good quoestion my friend.
    Inside myself perhaps. That's the only answer I have right now

    Enjoy your time
    love from d

  11. I feel most at home outside and in the trees. I love when the sunlight slants down through them. I grew up mostly out in nature also. Your memories of your first home sound so much like mine. I love your description. My happy place is on the path through our little woods.