My favorite place: Where I am

I’m in England visiting my son, his wife, and my grandchildren: Benjamin 8, Eleanor 5, and Daniel 3. It’s a favorite place.

A favorite place can be where I am, where I will later be, or where I have been before.

Once, it was on Lake Huron’s sandy shore when I was about to drift into rhythmic slumber in time with the big Lake’s lapping waves. It has been on my backyard deck while I was looking over the garden at the ripening tomatoes and beans, the carrot’s emergence, and the yellow blooms that would later become yellow summer squash.

It’s the same place that was with me crossing different oceans, in far off cities, on long white beaches: Copacabana, Ipanema, Normandy. It was with us, my son, my grandchildren and me, as we watched the tide of the Thames, and as my wife and I crossed the River Kyle on a ferry from my ancestral home, in Gleneig to the Isle of Skye in Scotland.

Once, it came to me while passing through the Straits of Magellan; again it came riding on a narrow gauge railroad in the mountains of Wales. It moved with me through the Trent-Severn and Rideau canals in Ontario. In Paris, its potential was never far away all along the banks of the River Seine.

In Ushuaia it was there — that southernmost city in the world — and in the South Pacific at Fanning and Christmas Islands, some of the world’s remotest places. It was with me too as I snorkeled among fishes who live in technicolor and are themselves those hues.

I have lived with great beauty: on a farm with rolling, fertile land, lush with green crops of many descriptions; in a forest too — deep, remote, still — so dark the galaxy was at home there.

I have walked along creeks, streams, rivers, and the shores of all the Great Lakes, traveled across all their widths or lengths, and watched the sun go down into every one of them. I’ve lain at anchor in a fog and watched the morning’s light turn my world into a glowing envelope of enfolding softness; thus calmed, I’ve watched as it silently misted away and when gone, there, too, I found a favorite place.

In all those cases it was not the places, rather the feelings that came to me in those spaces.

I’ve been with people I have loved, so close to them, so dear to me, it made no difference where I was — only that I be able to return there should they ever come again.

Where? You’ll know it, recognize its feel. It can be anywhere; here, there, along the way or at some destination, this bliss, a rapture that comes from who knows where. It may arrive with a glass of wine and a loaf of bread; come with a feast or with no food at all in a song, with a touch, or in a silence accompanied only by the pleasure of the day.

It is here now with my son, his wife, my grandchildren and me together, in that place, my favorite place.

And there is this:

“What day is it?” asked Pooh.

“It’s today.” squeaked Piglet.

“My favorite day.” said Pooh.

A.A. Milne

Doug Pugh’s Vignettes run bi-weekly on Tuesdays. He can be reached via email at pughda@gmail.com.