Imagining Another Life

         Why is it that anytime we travel to a new fabulous destination, we automatically wonder “could I live here?”  Or at least this is what I do.  I scope out the terrain, I look at the advertisements that frame the real estate offices on main street and ponder what life would be like if I was a local.  What coffee shop would I frequent, could I afford living here, where would I walk my dog, do I know anyone close by? 

         This was the case when I visited St. Malo this past week. It had many of the things I want in a town: walkable, affordable, good public transportation, scenic, relaxing vibe, but it was the nature that pulled me in. St. Malo is in the Bretagne region of France.  All I had heard previously about this place, was a good spa existed here.  I didn’t know the massive history this town held.  It was founded in the 1st Century, has Celtic influence, and has a wall that surrounds the entire city.  Although much of it was destroyed during World War II, renovations were completed to ensure it kept it’s charm.  What I found most fascinating was the seaside and the interplay of the low and hide tide which transforms access to Grand Be and Petit Be, two mini islands that one can generally walk to during daylight hours.  Yet, the path disappears when high tide approaches.  

         Although I also visited Mont St. Michel on this trip, the sacredness of this journey was lost due to the high number of tourists that flocked there that day.  What I was longing for was actually felt in St. Malo.  I couldn’t help but feel vastly connected to nature.  One could feel it was a living breathing entity, noticing how the land morphs every 12 hours.  During high tide, land several hundred meters away are islands.  During low tide, they are walkable, and in fact the beach you walk through was actually under water only hours ago.  This landscape’s beauty was captivating, and one couldn’t help but be mesmerized by it’s ever changing form. And at the same time, I felt like this aspect of Mother Nature could hold me, in adventure, entertainment, awe, and reflection.  It didn’t ask much of me or her other visitors.  It simply expected respect, and that was given.  She demonstrated her fierce power and playfulness.  Her dimensions morph, and I couldn’t help but be in reverence for all that she offered me.  

         So as I visit new cities in towns, I notice it is nature that I seek.  It’s not the crowds of the infamous structure in town, souvenir shops, or Michelin starred restaurants.  It’s nature I long for, which heals the busy-ness of my mind.  What has called out to you on your most recent trips?  

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. —Frank Lloyd Wright

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