I’ve had an incredibly full and amazing weekend so I’m offering my weekly list early this week. These are places and moments I visit often in between conversations. My lists are always participatory, so please, add your own places to this list!
1) Allerton Park. I’ve been a few times and it’s always magical. The gardens are beautiful, the sun singer and foo dogs, the reflecting pond in front of the big house, the forest and river, the architecture, semi-nude sculptures: incredible. Being there in grade 11 with the Fine Arts Club (yes, I know how nerdified that sounds) was a memory that is perfect in every way, including a sword battle in the great, rolling hills surrounded by the woods. “Death of the Last Centaur” sums it all up.
2) The U.K. I know that covers a lot of ground. From natural beauty to human history. Our last visit there was an amazing time with family and friends. We saw the Giant’s Causeway and visited incredible cathedrals where I saw God and others saw the devil. Went to open air markets, walked through gates that the Mayflower pilgrims walked through. I saw real castles, stayed with good friends, took lots of door pictures and in general had a perfect time.
3) The Falls. An old stone quarry that became a man made waterfall. The roar of the water always made me feel secluded and it’s where the elusive Donna and I had our first kiss. We thought we were alone until, after the kiss, we heard someone from our school yell from the other side of the water, “Get a room!” Bible College was full of very sexually repressed people and if you became un-repressed you were kicked out, unless you got married.
4) Harney Peak. You could drive up part of the way but had to do the last part on foot. My favourite way to get there started at Mt. Rushmore and hiked through the Black Hills until you got to the Peak. Hiked there with a group of friends that included Big Eddie and Jason. Eddie kept asking for a quick drink from everyone’s canteen until we finally caught on that he’d finished off his water and most of the whole group’s as well. The heart break was that Ed got within a quarter mile of the peak and gave up (‘Big’ Eddie was NOT an ironic nickname). The grace was when Jason volunteered to stay with Eddie and not go to the peak with the rest of us so that Eddie wouldn’t be all alone. Richest moment on the hike was when we were trying to keep the guys motivated to go two more miles before we set up camp and they were all complaining about having nothing left. Suddenly, another group of hikers appeared on trail ahead of us coming over the crest of a little hill. We had all guys, they had all teenage girls. The girls came bounding and bouncing past us. The boys all of a sudden stood up straight, stuck out their chests and walked with renewed energy. I learned about the power of inspiration that day.
5) Here. I have the coolest friends in the world and that makes this the coolest place for me.