Is a slice of heaven really a place?
On the surface surely we all have an idea of where that place may be or at least what it should be like. But is it ever really a place? A geographic place that is? We have all dreamed, at one point or another, about that tropical Island paradise, a serene lakefront setting or even the vibrancy of a big city. But once there, would our own character not always attempt to force the character of the place itself into submission? Wouldn’t those of us who are naturally calm and relaxed find a cozy corner even in a bustling Metropolis, while other, more energetic creatures would find a way to add vivacity and dynamics to even the sleepiest of all quaint villages? Don’t we always try to create a space, no matter where we are, that mirrors our soul? And is it not also true that we not only mold that space but bring into it not just our dreams and visions and abilities but also our worries and habits and insecurities and thereby recreate our own personal realm, again and again, no matter where we go?
So if it’s a geographic slice of heaven I am to suggest as a personal answer to a personal question and it is, without doubt, a very personal question, then my answer will be an evasive one, because there are many places that make me incredibly happy but I would not consider any of them heaven.
My favorite city is London. It can be stressful, congested and polluted but there is a vibe, a creativity and a wit in the people and the city itself that I never want to be without for long.
The rugged Cornish west coast has to be my favorite place to get away, to clear my head, to walk and think and to marvel at green grass meeting blue seas on a sunny day and at the sheer force of wind and sea when the weather does what it does best in Cornwall.
And my favorite way to travel is by sailboat. Leaning against the bow of a boat as we make our way into the sanctuary of a Croatian harbor after a long day on the water, seeing new Islands, coves and ports every day.
All these places, and many more, make me happy and proud to have experienced them and they are all an important part of who I am, but they still don’t answer the underlying question completely. My slice of heaven can never be a specific place because none of these are places I would prefer to all others. They are there to be the right place at the right time. Very important places with the ability to relax, invigorate and inspire. But they still are only places.
A real slice of heaven can, and often is, a part of these places. But it’s not a tangible place to me, it’s a fleeting moment. A moment where I can laugh, cry, love, celebrate or reminisce but most importantly a moment that I will remember. Take those moments and string them all together, in writing, through pictures or only in your mind, to me that is my personal heaven. And I’ll leave you with a quote that best describes these fleeting moments. This is from the book “One Year Off” by David Elliot Cohen, I wish they were my own words because they ring so true:
At the end of a one year journey around the world, Cohen and his family find themselves in Luang Prabang, where they take a boat ride up the Mekong River to the Buddha caves of Pak Ou. In exploring the cave they discover a path into a particularly dark section and are using matches, not having brought a flashlight, to illuminate the space.
“….when I lit a match it formed a small circle of light around us. In that circle hundreds of tall thin Buddhas stood sentry. Each time I lit another match this gentle army sprang to life, and each time it flickered out, we were plunged back into darkness.
It was a remarkable effect, very spiritual, and it made me consider how far we’d come in the last year. It was almost a year ago, exactly, that we were living a pretty ordinary life in the suburbs of San Francisco. Now we found ourselves 1500 miles up the Mekong River, igniting matches, one after another, in a pitch black cave surrounded by a thousand carved Buddhas. It all went by so quickly, this journey of ours-just one brief luminous scene after another.
We lit a match, and we were in the mountaintop forests of Costa Rica watching the clouds fly by. We lit another, and we were in the hills of Sardinia enjoying a sumptuous feast. A flash of light and Devi and I were standing hand in hand under a crescent moon on the banks of the Golden Horn. Flash again, and we were traveling across the sere plains of Africa. One flash of light after another and we were in the vivid Rajasthan desert, the desolate Nullarbor Plain, the crumbling ruins of Angkor Wat.
Then it struck me that life was like that, too. You light a match, and you’re just a child. Light another, and you’re married with children of your own. A few more brief, bright flares, and your babies have left home. A few more after that and your pack is used up. That might be why, at the end of our journey, we found ourselves standing in the Buddha caves of Pak Ou. To learn that we only have one pack of matches. To understand that we have to be in the best possible place to light each one. To know that we must make each brief combustion a bright, shining moment that pierces the darkness and illuminates a thousand gods.
It was time to go home.
All the talented bloggers that participated in this latest “Let’s blog off” would love it if you showed your appreciation by clicking on a link of your choice below to see their take on this interesting and inspiring topic.
|Blogger||Blog Post Link|
|Veronika Miller||@modenus||Modenus Community|
|Paul Anater||@paul_anater||Kitchen and Residential Design|
|Bob Borson||@bobborson||Life of an Architect|
|Tamara Dalton||@tammyjdalton||Tamara Dalton Design Studios|
|Sean Lintow, Sr.||@SLSconstruction||SLS-Construction.com|
|Richard Holschuh||@concretedetail||Concrete Detail|
|Kevin Lee Allen||@klad2688||KLAD Design|
|Jody Brown||@INFILLnc||Coffee with an Architect|
|Madame Sunday||@ModernSauce||Modern Sauce|
|Roaming By Design||@RoamingByDesign||Roaming By Design|
|Beach House Finds||@beachhousefinds||Beach House Finds|
|Jane Frederick||@JaneFredArch||Low Country Architect|