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April 18 at 8:30am

What Is That Sense Of Place You Loved Back Then?

By Ted Hope

Remember those places you loved? The ones you wanted to return to some day? What did they have in common? What were the details they shared? Are any of those aspects around you now? Forget about the tourist sites, but what are the favorite places you’ve been to?

1) I miss my treehouse only 12 ft off the ground but there I was king and had escaped from it all (even if it had yet to begin).
2)We had a pine grove behind where I grew up where the trees were tall and straight and all in a line and the ground was soft with needles from years upon years — until that other kid burned it down.
3)I walked into the movie theater near Smith College on a winter day playing hooky from work. 3 people were there. Napoleon w three projectors. I went back in time and forward all at once and knew I would change my life.
4)Vanessa & I were already madly deeply but it was early. Maui. Under a rock at the top of the volcano in the rain with bad wine and a friend singing opera above us, later through the bamboo forest to the seven falls, narrowly missing a falling rock, hidden beaches w pink sands all by ourselves (we thought), racing across the far side feeling it was the moon, arriving for my lecture in swim trunks and sand in my shoes.
5) We were bicycling or walking, in Brooklyn over the bridges, on the beach at Labor Day, in Paris, maybe even on a long drive, but it was all three of us, and he wan’t sure he could do it and maybe he did have a fit along the way, but afterwards it was always the greatest day ever.

They are all both moments of change and peace . At first I was alone, then not, ever expanding, growing confident, trusting, hopeful.

Can we ever build these environments?  Can we ever feel what we felt then when we recreate them on screen?  

Do we think enough about them now when we try to capture something like that on the page?  Have you ever tried to name yours?  Shouldn’t that be a lesson we ask ourselves annually?

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One Comment

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  1. A. B. Phillips / Apr 18 at 8:30am

    In my writing experience, these moments/places are defined as much (if not more) by the spaces which lend them their significance through contrast. Capturing the places you loved is preliminarily essential, but in order to accent that moment in time, we must distinguish its essence from the cacophony of other colors and sounds that surround us, or else we run the risk of diminishing the purity and wonder that we derive from these well-remembered moments in time.

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