Posted by: Kerry Gans | February 3, 2011

Haven

Last week I returned to Chincoteague. For eight months last year, this little island and its wild companion Assateague fed my soul and sheltered me from the hustle and bustle of the hectic pace of modern life. Going back, even for a couple of days, felt like returning home.

Is it possible to have a soul-place, the way people have a soul-mate? Some people don’t believe in soulmates but I do, having found mine. So is it possible that a soul has a place, or at least a type of place, where it can grow and expand and utterly belong?

If so, Chincoteague and Assateague are mine. The first time I set foot on the island, it felt like home. Not because I felt I knew it, but more like the island knew me. Like it had been waiting for me to find my way to it–to find my way back where I belonged. Sounds weird, perhaps (or eerily like the premise to Lost). All I know is that after several days there I was more at home than after several years in Jersey.

On my recent trip back, I of course had to visit Assateague, the wildlife refuge next door. Assateague in winter is bleak, but hopelessly beautiful nonetheless. Birds, ducks, and geese populate the pools, wild ponies and deer roam the marshes and forests, and squirrels flit through the underbrush. The beach, empty and wind-lashed, stretched to the horizon, and the waves reached for the sky, foam blowing off the crests in horizontal streams.

Some would call the beach desolate. Indeed, my baby girl was frantically signing, “All done! All done!” just a few minutes after we got there. The grey sky, clouds roiling farther than sight, the raging water, seething as it ate away the land… I can see how some people would feel isolated and insignificant.

Not me. Standing there, the chains of our hectic lifestyle fell away and my soul stretched. The untamed wind filled my lungs, the sea roared in my ears, the salt coated my lips, and the sand shifted beneath my feet. But instead of feeling small and isolated, I felt small and connected. The vastness didn’t swallow me, it took me into itself and made me more than I normally am.

So Assateague and Chincoteague are my soul-places, where I can sense the thrum of life itself. And although I cannot be there always, I can retreat there in my mind whenever needed. That wild wind will be my Muse, swirling my writer’s soul and calling forth words I hope will soar as high and as far as the wind itself.

What are your soul-places?

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Responses

  1. Beautiful post KERRY. So often I get chills of pride from your writing.
    My “soul place” is conducting a choir, anywhere possible.

    Like

  2. You are very fortunate to have found your soul place. The closest thing to one for me would be any beach. There is something relaxing about hearing the ocean waves.

    Like

  3. Great post Kerry! I also find that sitting on a deck, bench or beach chair and watching and hearing the ocean is my soul place. It has always been very soothing and calming for me, even during storms.

    Like


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