Experiencing the magic of favorite places
“The touch of an infinite mystery passes over the trivial and the familiar, making it break out into ineffable music… The trees, the stars, and the blue hills ache with a meaning which can never be uttered in words.” – Rabindranath Tagore
Our favorite places call us to simply be in them without expectation. It took me a long time to realize this, to forget schedules, to forget trying too hard to see a certain bird or tree or animal, to forget taking notes and thousands of pictures to help me remember everything later.
I have been to Wakulla Springs, south of Tallahassee, Florida, dozens of times. As a writer, I must admit, though, that as Tagore says, the true beauty and meaning of the springs and the river heading south toward the Gulf of Mexico cannot be easily captured in words.
When I’m at Wakulla, I notice the trees, vines, alligators, Anhingas, Limpkins and the colors of the sky and water, but when I recall these later while trying to describe the place in a short story, I words often fall far short of what it was like to be there.
It’s taken me a long time to realize that making lists of what I saw or what I did, gets in the way of my experience. Rather than planning to write about it, it’s better to simply enjoy it, to take what happens as what happens and, with luck, to feel the magic at the heart of the place.
In fact, I can more easily write about a place later if, while I’m there, I make no plans to write about it later!