There are some places in the world to which I feel rooted ; places where I feel tremendously at home. Being something of a Gypsy at heart, I pretty much make myself at home any place, but there are a few particularly special places I love most of all.
The Belgrade Lakes region in Maine is one. My family and I go there every summer to “fill our cups” and spend some time with people we love as family and miss when we’re away. Elkins, WV is another place I love, where my son and I go for Irish Music immersion. I like to think of our time in Elkins as being like the faerie stories where an unsuspecting traveler stumbles upon a magical land where time flows differently, music is the only food one needs, and the real world just melts away…at least for a week.
I have spent the past few days out on the west coast in Olympia, WA. I have some dear friends who live out there so I took the opportunity to visit. Olympia has become one of those places for me over the years as I have visited quite often. There are more shades of green there (even in winter!) than my watercolor set can possibly manage. The coffee is outstanding; my favorite is Batdorf and Bronson’s downtown.
There is also a very friendly dog culture in Olympia. Many school teachers actually take their dogs to school with them to spend time with their students. One of these is Jinx who works in the 5th grade classroom at McKenny Elementary school. Jinx is tiny, probably a dachshund chihuahua mix of some sort, and such a gentle little soul.
My friends who live in Olympia are lucky to have a bit of land around their house and so they have any number of animals both inside and out at any given time. My favorite this go round was Curly, a Peruvian Guinea Pig who belongs to Olivia. I always thought of guinea pigs as sort of skittish but Curly is peace personified. Zen Pig, if you will.
Coming home from a trip is stressful. Reality and normalcy come crashing back at me and I can get a little overwhelmed and depressed if I’m not careful. However, years of traveling have taught me a little bit about what I think of as my “landing gear”. Allowing myself a little extra time and space, coffee and friendship in my first day or two back can often prevent my formerly predictable “break up on re-entry”. Add to that my beloved family that cleaned the house for my arrival and this trip’s re-entry has been pretty smooth.
I am glad to be home, surrounded by my awesome family, my rambunctious dogs, and back in my studio where I can get to work on drawing some of the dogs I met and pebbles I collected while in Olympia.