I don't own this Place - I was 10 when my family moved there - 23 when my parents sold it and moved away; I was already gone of course. It continues to have a strong hold on me however, even today when I'm just around the corner from age 70. Living only an hour from the Place allows me to "return" whenever the desire to be there has built up to the bursting point.
Because the Place is a 42-acre farm, I have to trespass to get into it, especially to the bottom of the canyon which would be the back edge of the farm - this is where my mind goes when it needs nurturing. Writing this - I'm there this moment. The little creek is making music passing over the rocks I once carefully lifted up in search of crawdads - when it was my Place. Imagine that! The same rocks. All those years - still participating in the water music.
Not all is unchanged though. A few years ago I trespassed into the canyon to see its colors on a good fall day. It had been several years since I'd visited - I was at the bursting point for the Place. I needed the dirt road lined with old pine and fir trees, screeching jays, the near-absolute silence. But what to my wondering eyes should appear but …… junked cars, trashed trucks and even a gutted motor home (its toilet sitting on the side of the old road) all this within yards of the creek, blackberry vines growing over their rusting hoods and through their oily motors.
It took a few months at home before the disgust of that sight moved me to start calling for help: a regional government, land use people with the state, this agency, that department. Each person suggested another person. then one day someone called me back! I gave her directions to the canyon. She’d “look into it.” Months later I received a copy of a letter the agency had sent to the property owner citing a law that junked vehicles can’t be there.
The next spring I returned, this time trespassing in from the other side of the canyon - I really didn’t want to get caught this time. The vehicles were gone. The saplings had begun to overgrow the oily dirt and gravel where the “junk yard” had once stood. That day I hiked further up the creek than I had ever gone - finding the waterfall I’d only heard about in my childhood. Same old rocks, same music, same peace.
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