To Return Seems Like a Sacrament



There are landscapes one can own,
bright rooms which look out to the sea,
tall houses where beyond the window
day after day the same dark river
turns slowly through the hills, and there
are homesteads perched on mountaintops
whose cool white caps outlast the spring.

And there are other places which,
although we did not stay for long,
stick in the mind and call us back—
a valley visited one spring
where walking through an apple orchard
we breathed its blossoms with the air.
Return seems like a sacrament.

Then there are landscapes one has lost—
the brown hills circling a wide bay
I watched each afternoon one summer
talking to friends who now are dead.
I like to think I could go back again
and stand out on the balcony,
dizzy with a sense of déjà vu.

But coming up these steps to you
at just that moment when the moon,
magnificently full and bright
behind the lattice-work of clouds,
seems almost set upon the rooftops
it illuminates, how shall I
ever summon it again?
~Dana Giola “Places to Return”


A week away, experiencing new landscapes, seeing orcas and humpbacks and bears (oh my!) – this is the stuff of stories and memories.

Yet nothing about vacation compares to the sacrament of the moment of return, pulling into our own driveway, and settling back into the routine of home where the men are strong, the women are (ahem) good looking and the children are above average.

There’s no better place to summon up the sacrament of remembrance.



3 thoughts on “To Return Seems Like a Sacrament

  1. Oh yes, and living on our farm is living my dream for sure. I also love the memories of vacations past: first time I saw the rocky mountains and thought “now that is a real mountain”, driving over the Bear Tooth mountains 3 years ago in montana, Road to the Sun in Glacier Park, the flat surface of Boatman Lake (my visual reminder of calm when my Haflinger gets in a tizzy), the west coast of Vancouver Island, Fortress Louisburg on the most Eastern side of Nova Scotia, the deserts and around Mesa Verde, the Grande Canyon and the lovely sounds of the waves at our nearby Morro Bay/Cayucos/Cambria – the Pacific Ocean coast line. Thanks for bringing these places to mind… and yes, that wonderful feeling of pulling into our driveway. Bringing those vacations feelings home, to create our own vacation place for everyday living.
    Thanks Emily. Beautiful words, beautiful photos.
    Hugs, laura


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