Wednesday, February 10, 2010

what keeps you sane?

another feature of places in which we live might be those things that keep you sane. in the everyday hub-bub it's easy to lose your center. you need a place to go or thing to do that returns you to that center. maybe a walk in the woods, a quiet paddle in a pond. or maybe an artistic impression. a painting, a musical performance, a piece of architecture (landscape or otherwise).

i have a number of such places that, well it'd be overdoing maybe to call it sacred, but on second thought, no i wouldn't be. there's the overlook over the st marys river on the short ski loop (see previous post), a particularly compelling scene in the woods i often hike through, the feeling of a morning paddle in a small lake. picture warm lake + cool morning air making a mist, picture sun slanting through the surrounding forest and that forest reflecting in the still pond. that kind of thing.

what's your centering place/activity?


  1. The ocean. I drive the Pacific coast several times a week between Ventura and Santa Barbara, and whenever I can I go down to the sea to watch, hear, and smell it. My favorite activity on a foggy morning: walk out on the stone spit in the harbor and sit under the foghorn (with earguards on!). The fog obscures the beach and I can pretend I'm far off shore, with nothing but the pelicans and foghorn vibrations around me.

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  3. spending half of my life in the UP means a connection to lake superior develops naturally. nothing centers me quicker than getting to the beach for a fall storm and watching the lake roar. as for sanity, the types of places that gz mentions are great, but sometimes combining them with a gut-busting run or ski chases out the stress demons and sanity is easier to grab hold of.

  4. My art studio. It is my sanctuary. It is a place I make no excuses for the tidiness, or lack of. It is a place to express myself. I listen to music while I play, and let the exploration of self-expression lead me to places I did not know existed.

    If only there were public art spaces in this city. An outdoor area reserved for quiet reflection. A kind of spiritual space with choice pieces of art such as stone or bronze abstracts. I have heard talk that Lake Superior State University plans to have a sculpture garden sometime in the future. What a great addition to the campus and the town it would be. I can imagine sitting on a bench surrounded by fine art sculptures with the International bridge and Canada in the background. I hope this vision becomes true.

  5. william-
    i've lived in two small towns that had public sculptures, generally in vest-pocket parks. loveland colorado is home to a foundry so that wasn't a bit jump for them to have public sculptures. some felt the sculptures were controversial some thought they were too representational but they were there and thought about. also, hays, kansas is home to a sculptor (pete felton) who works in the native limestone of the area so they have some of his work around town. the idea of some sculpture here is a great one.

  6. My thought was, if LSSU wants a sculpture garden...each summer during the Sault Summer Arts Festival have a competition. Invite a competent judge to jury the field. All Michigan sculptors could be invited. Their sculptures would be displayed around town, then come the festival the judge would announce the three winners, 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Those three move to the sculpture garden permanently. (LSSU buys them, of course)

    Ok, I have not figured out all the particulars $$$. My feeling is, if the sculptures are met with a scoff or two by the people of the city, they are only exhibited for the summer, they will get over it. They are only temporary. It is good to expose people to new things. Do the competition each year and in three or four years the sculpture garden is filled with award winning pieces.

  7. There are three main lakes in Baton Rouge. I commute almost every week day to work on my bike. If I know it will be miserable I will walk a mile to the bus stop and ride from there. Even though the lakes are rather neglected they still serve host to a wide array of wildlife. In the winter there is an impressive group of white pelicans that hang out in the lakes. I see wood ducks every day which is also rather nice.
    Riding a bike ten miles or more (route depending) round trip to work has really made a difference in my life.

    I exercise more which makes me feel better. But more importantly I get a chance to slow down from the faced pace “city life” and enjoy nature.

  8. and you also see how many people are whooshing by in the cocoon of their automobiles oblivious to the wildlife and other features of the lakes.