Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Priestess of Place

from Reya Mellicker

Is it my turn to post? Seems like it. Also it's true that I'm somewhat overloaded with words today, so please excuse me if I butted in. OK? OK.

I loved Jo's post about falling in love with Maine. I completely understand love affairs with landscapes. Of course I'm not the first person nor by any stretch of the imagination am I the last to form such passionate connections, oh no. Currently I am completely in love with the Potomac River, for instance.

In fact, nationalism, while pure in its essence, has created so many problems in the history of our species. We love the land, the river, the mountain. We fall passionately in love. We ARE the landscape. So we get attached. The next thing you know, others feel a similar passion and then? War. Dang man. Our sweetest traits bring on so much trouble. Sometimes.

During my 57 years on this planet I have lived in every time zone in the U.S. Born in Mountain Time, spent formative years (as they say) in Central, many more in Pacific and now in Eastern; Standard and Daylight, depending on the time of year. Of course there are beautiful, sacred places everywhere, but if I had to choose one over all the others, I would pick Lake Tahoe.

I only lived at 6,500 feet, on the border of California and Nevada, for a couple of years. Possibly my short tenure there explains why I never quite made myself at home with the culture or the people (though I still have dear friends who I connected with during those years). But the land? And the lake? Oh man. I loved Tahoe. The air was/is so blue, the sky blue but yet somehow gold at the same time. It smells like vanilla, like pine, like the sweetest fir tree oil you have ever smelled. Delicious.

I loved the beautiful white winters and in fact earned the name "Snowface" when I learned how to ski. I loved the mountains and the rocks, trees, the waterfalls and all the tiny little lakes up in Desolation Wilderness. I loved the sound of the wind blowing through the pines. Wow.

I still dream about the Sierra, about the lake. When I need to retreat to a space of peace and tranquility, I always imagine myself looking out across Emerald Bay (see below). Ahhhhhhh.......

Nevertheless, the first chance I had, I high-tailed it down to San Francisco, a place where the land never made sense but where I really loved the people and the culture. Ah the vagaries of human nature, or at least my own human nature.

Go figure.


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  2. Sorry...WAAY too many typos. Let's try again. sister!

    Don't tell Maine I said this, but (in terms of landscapes) The Sierra Nevada Mountain Range is my first love!

    The first time I went was over 20 years ago, when Joyce & I met with our families and spent a week in a tiny little group of cabins outside some even tinier town. What a glorious environment!

    As I got out of the car when we arrived, I managed only the briefest hello to my twin whom I'd not seen in nearly a year, before I ran to stand in the midst of those magical pines. I looked up and immediately felt a
    peace I'd never felt before. I was home.

    I've gone back several times, including an incredible New Year's Eve in Tahoe (also with Joyce & fam) and your description is absolutely perfect.

    The air, the sky, the lakes, and of course, those beautiful, fragrant you said. Delicious.

    Thanks so much for this oh, SO delicious post..but now I'm homesick!

  3. California has some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes on the planet, many within a few hours drive of each other.

    I was born in San Diego and lived there until we moved to K.C. the summer of fifth grade. I would often daydream of what I imagined was my lost paradise and was homesick for years.

    Your post transported me back to a place I haven't visited in years except in my memories. To this day, I can sometimes remember a particular smell; poppies in the springtime or the taste of an apricot or orange pulled fresh from the tree.

    Thanks Reya for your beautiful description of a most beautiful place.

  4. Snowface was a very fitting nickname. Skiing was not my best thing.

    Jo! So you have experienced the beauty of Tahoe!! Wow. We really are sisters. Wouldn't it be great to rent a big house up there sometime, settle in, tell stories, take walks ... maybe even ... ski? Nah. Let's go during summer when the weather is complete perfection.

    Linda I had no idea you were from San Diego. Cool. You are a California Girl! Very cool. I've only been there once, but I remember it well. What a beautiful place.

  5. I'm ready, Reya! Even in the winter...count me in.

    'Snowface' is a very cute nickname. If you ever saw me try to ski, you'd call me 'The Snowball Express.'

    That might actually make a perfect spot for a Rusking Girls' Reunion!

  6. I am SO down with that. YES YES YES.

    I have friends up there who can scope out rentals. Last summer I spent the weekend in a huge house that had a view of the mountains (though not the lake) that was not expensive but extremely comfortable and nice. Nice deck, great kitchen, plenty of space for everyone.

  7. "Everyone" = six of us. Even when 4 locals joined us, there was room in the living room for all of us to hang out together.

  8. I'll bring the wine. Must have wine when storytelling and reminiscing.

  9. Both Tahoe and San Fransisco are in my back yard. Tahoe IS one of the most beautiful places around here and there are many. Emerald Lake is truly deserving of its name and sparkles just like the jewel.

  10. Ohmygoodness! Sounds like such fun. I foresee more than 10 Ruskin girls being interested in this, though...we might need another house!

  11. How much wine can you carry, Linda? ;-)

  12. There are many wine stores in Tahoe. No worries about that!! I'm am so into this!!


Your visit makes my heart smile. Thank you.