Metatalktail Hour: Postcards from my heart October 24, 2021 2:32 AM   Subscribe

For today's metatalktails, paduasoy asks, "What places and landscapes (urban, rural, wild, watery or anything at all; perhaps somewhere you haven't visited but think about, or somewhere fictional) are important to you or part of your own mental landscape?"

Let us know about your places! Or just tell us what's new or interesting in your life, or what's been on your mind. (Just no politics, please and thank you!)
posted by taz (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 2:32 AM (44 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I am very fond of the Minneapolis skyline.

There is also a pond the bus goes by on the way to work that is the essence of New England, especially when the leaves change in the Fall and are reflected on its surface.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:21 AM on October 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

Last year, due to the pandemic, we started taking imaginary vacations over three day weekends. Our first one was Puerto Vallarta. We spent the weekend sleeping in our guest bedroom, from which I had removed all the normal decor, and replaced it with tropical things. I also changed the bathroom towels and bath mat to tropical colored ones, and switched to mango/papaya/coconut scented soaps and shampoos.

We started the weekend by watching a YouTube video someone had made of their flight to Puerto Vallarta, including boarding the plane, the view out the plane window, the landing, etc. We did fast-forward through most of the actual flight, but I spent some time “in flight” reading a copy of Reader’s Digest, because I always pick up a copy in the airport, and that’s the only time I read Reader’s Digest.

After we landed, we watched a lot of YouTube travel videos about Puerto Vallarta, including several in Spanish. We watched movies that had been filmed on location there, and we cooked lots of tropical style foods, too. While taking care of normal stuff around the house (like scooping cat litter boxes or loading the dishwasher), we listened to appropriate playlists on Spotify.

This all turned out to be a lot of fun, so we’ve since had a vacation “on the Amalfi Coast” (which was inspired by this piece on CBS Sunday Morning, and included lots of lemon pasta and lemon cake, and a lucky find at Marshall’s of some hand painted pasta bowls that looked almost exactly like the ones in the video. We also stumbled on to some new dish towels that worked with the theme. Most recently, we had a Tiki Weekend, which involved lots of fruity umbrella drinks in tiki mugs, bad Elvis movies, and Exotica playlists on Spotify.

These imaginary vacations have been more fun than I would have expected, and have helped keep us from wallowing in despair during the pandemic, because we live in the middle of nowhere in the ugly part of the southwestern US. I highly recommend them, and you can spend as much or as little as you want on them. The main things we use - YouTube videos and Spotify playlists - are free, and you’re going to eat regardless, so it’s mostly a matter of grocery shopping to fit the theme.

We’re thinking about spending the November and December holidays in a cabin in New England - buffalo plaid throws over the couch, lots of hearty winter soups and stews, and movies and tv shows set in New England. Spotify playlist will include “Weekend in New England”, and “Whoever’s in New England”, and we’ll probably watch a lot of “Newhart”.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:38 AM on October 24, 2021 [31 favorites]

I think a lot about the woods where I used to play as a kid in Virginia. The small woods that were part of my backyard, the bigger woods behind my friend Elizabeth's house, and the biggest woods that we walked through to get to either the 7-11 or McDonald's. That woods also in the other direction led to a pond (which we called The Lake) where I fed a lot of ducks, and one memorable winter it actually froze enough to walk on.

There's a lovely woods down the street from my house where I walk now, and I never see kids there, which is dismaying. I had so much fun, I hope they're having fun, wherever they are.
posted by JanetLand at 5:56 AM on October 24, 2021 [6 favorites]

I haven't dreamed of any of them in years, but there used to be a couple of "set" places I would dream of off and on over the years. Each of them were amalgamations of places I knew, but with that slightly off, slightly not real sort of extra. One was parts of a couple different summer camps I went to sort of blended together. The back field of one, set to the side where the lake was, along side the central area with the sometimes there, sometimes not mess hall, looped around by the back woods trail and little chapel of the other camp.

The other, and maybe last one of them I ever dreamt of was a blend of several wooded areas near the house I grew up in. Woods large enough for several different trails, some of them full parks with small rivers running through them, mixed with a wooded corner of the neighborhood where (in real life) kids had carved out a circular track for riding our bmx bikes, complete with utterly irresponsible jumps that only unsupervised teens would make. I remember the spaces as clearly as anyone would remember a dream they had thirty years ago, but I couldn't tell you what any dreams that took place in either of these locations were about, but I know I dreamt about them each more than a couple times, and there was a deep familiarity about them, a comfort on entering them that I felt, even asleep and dreaming, an "oh, this place, I'm back" sense of place.

On a trip back to my hometown, while maybe in college, my first trip back in years, visiting my old neighborhood, I saw that the hilltop with the bmx course had been developed, and it was filled with houses. I'm not sure if it was that night, or later on, but I had a dream in that old space, the neighborhood park and woods space, and in the dream, the shadowy, comforting woods where the track had been were replaced with giant houses, with lights from the rooms spilling out like spotlights. I woke, angry. I am pretty sure I mumbled something to myself about assholes putting subdivisions in my dreams and couldn't find a way to get back to sleep.

I've never dreamt about either of those places since, but they're still with me.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:50 AM on October 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

At the end of my block when I was a kid there was a stretch of woods bordered in the south by another road, where there were a couple farms. When I was about ten, someone bought up a good deal of the land and turned it into a cornfield; the patch of woods by our block was still there, but instead of the impenetrable and mysterious woods it felt like they used to be, now it was a patch of woods with all our old discoveries still in place (like the swamp that froze over real good and was great for skating) and then the cornfield on the other side.

The cornfield became a perfect Tween-age spot. You came out of the "woods" on the north edge, far enough away from the other road or the farmhouse belonging to it that you never saw it, and you could tell yourself that you were the only person alive when you were out there. There was a slope at one spot that was perfect for sledding in the winter when the corn was all harvested. There were a couple of big boulders piled up in one spot near where our path took us out of the woods, and that would be where we would sit and shoot the breeze, having those conversations that maybe it felt a little too grown-up for us to be having just yet; somehow, out in the cornfield it felt safer.

One day when I was twelve I brought our family dog out there, and I was on my own that day - just me and the dog - and as I sat on those boulders and looked out over the cornfield, I kept looking towards this slope, and somehow convinced myself that if I walked to the edge of it and looked over, I wouldn't see Indian Hollow Road - I'd see a whole other fantastical realm on the other side, like Narnia or The Territories or something. I was old enough to know that that wasn't possible, but still young enough to think "but maybe...." and finally worked myself up into such a froth of Belief that I called the dog, leashed him up, and started marching across the cornfield towards the slope. He got tired halfway and I ended up picking him up and carrying him (he was a cockapoo, so it was easy). And when we got to the edge of the slope and I looked over - it was just more cornfield, and the road beyond, and that was it.

I count that as the exact moment that my childhood ended.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:52 AM on October 24, 2021 [8 favorites]

The White Mountains in New Hampshire. There's a reason my username is named for one of them. I don't get up there very often anymore but they're a place I know well and I find such peace there. From the amazing views from the summits to the coolness of the deep woods down in the valleys. There are old logging camps and an occasional logging railroad trestle to be found here and there. Such a beautiful place with a rich history.

Also the desert. We don't have deserts in New England but the few times I've driven through them out west it felt like home to me. I don't think I could actually live out there but I could drive through the desert for hours and never get bored.

Which reminds me, I fly out to the desert tomorrow. I am so excited.
posted by bondcliff at 7:41 AM on October 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

My favourite place in the world, and a ‘safe’ space I can visualise when stressed is the beach at home in West Sussex.
posted by ellieBOA at 8:33 AM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

The beach at Elie in Fife. I haven't been there in decades. The smell of the clover and marram in the sea air punctuated by the sound of larks high in the sky is the place my brain goes when it needs sanctuary.
posted by scruss at 9:04 AM on October 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

I have recurring dreams of walking in a woods, with some swampy bits and thin board bridges, just like, the most minimal amount to not be in mud. There's always this serene quality to being there. For awhile in my late twenties, I couldn't figure out why I went there in particular in my dreams. In my thirties, I went back to visit some relatives that I hadn't been out to see since maybe my early teens. It was the land around their house. I still love it out there and I'm so glad I went back (I wanted to take my spouse and daughter out to see them). It has even gotten better, with really tall swings now at the top of a hill, so it feels like you're swinging forever. (Which are now part of my daughter's memories that she wasn't sure really existed.)
posted by blueberry monster at 9:17 AM on October 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

I rarely have dreams I can remember, but the ones I do tend to be set in houses I lived in as a child, with lots and lots of detail.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:54 AM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

For me it's trees and woods/forests, just in general.

I spent my teen and early adult years in north Florida, which tree-wise wasn't especially inspiring. I did like the pecan trees though, and not just for their delicious nuts. In the winter (or what passes for "winter" in Florida, anyway) their intricate bare-limb silhouettes jutting into the air were beautiful against a vivid sunset/dusk backdrop [not my photo].

Then I lived for about 15 years in the mountains of western NC; I loved all the trees blanketing the hillsides, especially in the fall with the spectacular colors. Sadly, by the time I left those fall colors had become rare and muted, and more often the leaves just went from green straight to brown before falling off. Thanks, climate change. The last place I lived in before leaving the area had a great big maple tree next to it, and - as if it knew I was leaving and wanted to say farewell - the giant leaves turned vivid yellow during my final autumn there. They were so beautiful I didn't even mind raking them up.

I enjoyed the dense mix of deciduous trees year-round though. They're one of the few things I miss now that I live in the PNW, where evergreens handily outnumber deciduous trees and they lack the dramatic fall coloring. But they have their own charm - they smell good, it's relaxing to hear the wind blowing through them, and many of them get quite breathtakingly huge. Since I moved here I've started camping more often. Being surrounded by trees, with no chores or responsibilities other than hanging out, savoring adult beverages, tending the campfire and cooking hearty food, is restful and restorative.

But no camping for me for the last year and a half. I've really missed it! I started making plans back in July for a September weekend, but total fire bans (due to the hot dry summer) put the kibosh on that. :( Maybe next spring...
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:21 PM on October 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

I haven't lived in Toronto in nearly twenty years now, but I did spend a good chunk of my young adult life there. Some of my most cherished memories are of picnics on Olympic Island: the Toronto Islands are perhaps ten minutes from the downtown core by ferry and are 95% parkland. A glorious place to pass a lazy afternoon.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:28 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

For a very, very long time, I was convinced that I was meant to live in Colorado - it was an intense feeling. The weird part is that I have never been there and know almost nothing about the state. There was no particular city or town - just Colorado. I am Canadian and do not have any useful skills to immigrate to the USA. Eventually, that faded, but every time someone mentions Colorado I feel wistful. It's.. bananas. I can't explain it.
posted by VioletU at 12:52 PM on October 24, 2021 [5 favorites]

Rural Norway for me. I've put the link to the Boards of Canada fan video for Macquarie Ridge on Metafilter several times over the years, but more specifically the place I haven't yet visited but has the strongest pull on me is the archipelago known as the Lofoten Islands.

A Flickr album of a few pictures of the islands.

As well as getting there - Hurtigruten is the favoured option - it's quite a long hike from one end to the other. There's beaches with backdrops, evening light and gloom, the occasional mountain or three, houses, and, if lucky, some lights in the sky. So, yeah, one day...

(yes, I spend an unhealthy amount of time looking at pictures of Scandinavia on Flickr)
posted by Wordshore at 12:55 PM on October 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

The forest, the woods, the wilderness. Any will do but I easily think back to the undeveloped areas around where I grew up in suburban Maryland outside DC. The woods were always available, somewhere nearby, where I could gaze into the infinity of tree branches, bare in the wintertime, green or brown the rest of the year. But now I'm in a synthetic new-suburb, heavy on the cul-de-sacs, but hemmed in on most sides by farmland. Sure, there's parks a-plenty, which is nice; but I have to drive now, to get to a real forest.
posted by Rash at 12:55 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

I have to have one of these places wherever I live, and I just found one for here. There low mountains all around here, and I found a particular canyon where I can go up and up until the creek rises, and suddenly the green comes, then I am up on top in cowboy and cowgirl country, with a lot of space between ranches and I can enjoy the California live oaks, and grassy slopes. I have to hear the trickle of native water or else why live on Earth? Have to hear the wind through threes, smell them, hear the cries of birds, and marmots, again or why be here at all?
posted by Oyéah at 3:28 PM on October 24, 2021 [6 favorites]

I'm very lucky to live in a relatively heavily developed part of the US that has managed to retain a decent number of semi-natural places, large and small, that we can walk in. They let us experience a bit of the landscape as it was before rampant and unconsidered suburban development took hold.

And yet, when it comes to landscapes that seep into my consciousness when my mind wanders, I wind up revisiting my time traveling in England and Wales. The Welsh Marches, the Brecon Beacons, the Lakes District, and Dorset all call to me in a way that induces a longing I can't quite explain. They are beautiful places, long lived in, with an ecology completely intertwined with human habitation, for better and worse. They're human-scale landscapes that I can easily envision myself inhabiting.
posted by mollweide at 6:45 PM on October 24, 2021 [5 favorites]

I also find myself often slipping back in my mind to my Grandma's cottage on the lake, where we'd spend a week or two every summer when I was a kid. I can smell the lake water, wet stones, the big black rubber inner tubes we'd float around in, and the collection of musty paperbacks we'd re-read every year on rainy days. The sound of the waves lapping on the beach are soothing. The taste of bonfire-roasted hot dogs and the feeling of coming out of the water all shivery before you're wrapped in a big, threadbare towel. I got the best sleep of my life in that little house.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:57 PM on October 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

I grew up in Phoenix but moved away after college. Every time I visit I see the mountains on every horizon and I feel like I am home. It's like I suddenly realize what I've been missing without being conscious that I was missing anything.
posted by CathyG at 12:16 AM on October 25, 2021

ellieBOA - I love your vitamin Sea!

I grew up in fragmented woodland in Hampshire UK - near Portsmouth, as well as pick-your-own and country pubs, some formative stuff there, and my preference is still rolling chalkland landscapes, here NZ we have a lot of loess (wind-blown dust) landscapes which have similar forms. I really enjoy the Ardenne too, a very up-and-down region-scape (great for cycling) - with lots of bakeries.

I spent a harrowing 3 months cycling (some / 3500k) of Alaska in 1990 and those landforms are burned into to me, think about them often, I discovered horticulture there too top picture, and later in San Francisco.

When we were taught landscape architecture they ripped our mental lids off, and we came our hyper-aware which helps me unearth tiny details from way-back.

I now live here and it combines many of the places I've loved. Rolling country, huge skies, lots of small roads and many ways to go A to B.
posted by unearthed at 1:38 AM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

I am very lucky to live in a cabin on a lake in Maine. But with winter coming up, my thoughts turn to sunny and warm locales, especially those with dramatic coastlines and beaches. Been watching travel shows like Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, and places I'd love to visit include Portugal and Puerto Rico, Hawaii, etc. Been missing seeing the ocean lately, as I am over an hour inland from the coast, and don't often get there, as when I lived in Portland.

So guess I am traveling virtually, for now.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:27 AM on October 25, 2021

I have always felt compelled to find places to hide and so my favorite places to go back to in my mind are my old hiding spaces.

Under my mom's skirt. She wore long skirts often and I was famous for darting under them at the mere suggestion of the presence of a stranger. I can still feel the wave of warmth and safety swinging down over me and the sweetly solid feel of her leg when I clung to it. I also remember being very upset when I grew too old/big to get away with that anymore. My mom is amazing and would probably let me sit under her skirt today if I asked but I'm trying to adult and she already spent enough time dealing with me being a leg limpet so I don't ask.

When I went to school and all of a sudden the world was a mass of people everywhere in my face the "reading corner" in my 3-5 Montessori classroom was my refuge. It had two bookcases set up like little walls with a small gap to slip through as a door. There were throw blankets and pillows and only room enough for one so I spent the bulk of my time in there actively hiding from the other children.

My childhood bedroom closet was a "walk-in" that was more like a closet that narrowed to a tiny hallway then widened to a storage nook area. By my preteen years I had that nook set up as a hiding space and it was my refuge until I left home.

I just now realized that I don't have any intentional hiding spaces anymore and I think I need to make one. Hiding in the shower isn't cutting it.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 6:35 AM on October 25, 2021 [4 favorites]

Everyone posting in here may like this: there's a lovely children's book called Your Own Best Secret Place, which celebrates places like this. The "plot", such as it is, is about a child exploring the woods around their new home, and they find a hollow cottonwood tree - and inside there are some odds and ends of things, and three notes from another child who's named himself "Joseph Cottonwood" after the tree, saying that he has had to move away but has every intention of coming back and reclaiming "his" spot someday. Another child can use the hollow tree while he's away, and the blanket he left behind if they get cold, but not the other stuff, please.

The child who's narrating talks about how they get it that Joseph needed a spot like that, and about how they had a spot like that in a gully near their old home. They discuss other "secret spots" other children have - a natural cave, a little cove near the ocean, a spot near a pear tree where the branches hang down and create a shelter, the hay barn on their family farm. It ends with all the various children each in turn saying that Joseph Cottonwood can borrow "their" spot if he is in their neck of the woods, and the narrator saying that they are looking after the cottonwood for Joseph until he's able to get back to it.

It's a lovely book - the illustrator has a knack for depicting the natural world in this stylized way that emphasizes connections between people and nature.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:53 AM on October 25, 2021 [4 favorites]

I live in the Andes foothills, in Santiago, Chile. I can see a stretch of the range from my second floor windows, and, if the air is clear, Cerro El Plomo, a 5,424m peak I climbed back in my 20s.

A lot of the people who also attempted the climb with me were in much, much better shape than me but didn't reach the top —because height sickness— so I was especially proud to be among the few that managed to wheeze my way to the top.

It was the hardest physical, and one of the top mental, efforts I've ever pulled off, so it's nice, when I'm stressed out or overwhelmed by some present travail, to see it and be reminded: "hey, you climbed El Plomo, you can do this".
posted by signal at 8:51 AM on October 25, 2021 [7 favorites]

This past summer it dawned on me that every city except one I've lived in for any significant amount of time has been next to a large body of water. The one that wasn't was the one I liked living in the least, so I think I've become accustomed to that and I don't think I'd ever want it otherwise for the rest of my life.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:21 AM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Adenville, Utah.
posted by AugustWest at 10:55 AM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

The house I grew up in is on a corner, there's a small traffic island and weird configuration where a couple small developments meet. The view is mostly trees, houses are de-emphasized. We had a picture window, and it was my daydream spot. It's probably my default image somewhere in my brain.

I have my own visual record. Years ago, walking in Wales from 1 hostel to the next on a foggy day, a pale gray pony appeared out of the fog on the other side of a fence. Of course I patted the pony, took a photo. My camera was cranky, no photo actually got taken, but it was along time ago and the image is still in my mind.

Like Marie Mon Dieu, I love in view of a lake in Maine. From the back of the house, woods. I bought a crappy house with a great view and still love it. I'd like to live somewhere where I could see weather/ clouds/ storms approach. Maine has tall trees that hide a lot of sky. I'm an extrovert, but I have hermit skills and am happy being alone for periods of time, if I have things to look at and daydream.

Planning a road trip after the holidays and ending up in Santa Fe is my goal.
posted by theora55 at 11:19 AM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Central Amsterdam! Canals, big healthy people riding bikes, tiny little buildings 100s of years old, places where a stranger can easily get a little somethin'. I guess you can get a little somethin' easily many places now, but Amsterdam will always be that Good Place for me.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:00 PM on October 25, 2021 [3 favorites]

intentional hiding spaces

In my parents' house we called these Secret Hideouts. We had at least three, in the undeveloped attic spaces of the eaves, upstairs. In later years, for smoking dope, one of them became a drug cave with a black light and posters.
posted by Rash at 2:30 PM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

Anywhere where there is nature, trails, wildlife and most important - solitude. I used to ride my bike to the next town as a kid and wander some trails all by myself... this has continued to this day when I prefer to camp alone.

When I was in high school, there was a "Bird Sanctuary" on the way that I would often cut through, to get away from the busy road. It's nothing more than a couple of acres left alone, with an occasional small boardwalk over the swampy bits, but ever since then I have planned to have my ashes buried there. Something soothing about that spot, for me.
posted by annieb at 3:07 PM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

I also used to hide and read in a closet One one of my childhood homes. The closet in the bedroom I shared with my sister was a huge walk in, with an overhead light and walls made of cedar. The scent was just lovely. Another favorite reading/hiding nook in that house was in the seldom-used dining room, in a space between the china closet and the wall of picture windows. Lots of light, and a comfy carpet to curl on. I used to leave a different book in each hidey l-hole.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:47 PM on October 25, 2021 [2 favorites]

Tahquamenon Falls in the winter or Mt. Pisgah in North Carolina and go to the Pisgah Inn.

I would love to see Tiera del Fuego in autumn or the Ituri forest in Zaire especially Isebe River Cascade over Mont Hoyo. the Santa Martas. everything in Iceland and The Alpujarras. and maybe a trip through Cambodia.
posted by clavdivs at 8:08 PM on October 25, 2021 [1 favorite]

I hiked to the top of Mt. Pisgah once, on a lovely early spring afternoon. It's a fairly steep path with lots of rocks, but the view at the top was worth it. I stayed up there to watch the sunset...only after which did it occur to me that I'd have to walk back down that same path in the pitch dark. I was getting ready to spend a cold night up there, but fortunately I found a flashlight in my backpack. I got down with no injuries, and the flashlight died literally within sight of my car. *whew*
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:44 PM on October 25, 2021 [3 favorites]

I live 15 minutes walk from the ocean, but the beach is too dangerous for anyone to walk (people have been stabbed even walking in daytime in a group, with dogs). So every day I cycle or walk to Park Island, a small island in the Vlei, a nearby estuary nature reserve.
So many birds! Also otters and tiny antelope, although I've never seen them.
I find porcupine quills, and the other day I saw a tortoise there for the first time, I think it must be a new arrival.
It's almost always windy, and the sound of the wind in the reeds, and the water lapping the edge of the island is so soothing.
I experience all of through the lens of the Swallow and Amazon books, that taught me the magic of water and islands. Even some of the birds are the ones featured in those stories, Coots, and greater crested Grebes.
I try to pay attention to the small things and learn new things about the place like the fact that the wooden railing near the bird hide has lots of small iridescent patches of fish scales because the Pied Kingfishers like smacking the fish they catch against it, to tenderize them.
posted by Zumbador at 3:53 AM on October 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

The godawful, years-behind-schedule, millions-of-pounds-over-budget, technically-unsound albatross around my neck of a project at work...has finally been canceled. Better yet, my job isn't affected and I get to work on more interesting stuff now.

I am getting a celebratory bottle of wine on the way home.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 7:59 AM on October 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

The back stairwell of my undergraduate university library (which was torn down ca. a decade ago). It was a storage spot for stackable institutional-style chairs, and I'd pull two out, sit in one, put the other under my feet, and read, undisturbed, for hours. The smell was weird: institutional chlorox-and-dispair, but also that particular warm and friendly smell of decomposing books.

When I'm deep in a book now, and begin to lift my head, there's still a part of me that expects to see that familiar beige-painted cinderblock wall where I processed such amazing new and interesting ideas. I still dream of it from time to time.
posted by eclectist at 9:24 AM on October 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

In later years, for smoking dope, one of them became a drug cave with a black light and posters....

In my late teens as part of some exchange program I spent a weekend at a boarding school in England (I have no idea now where that was nor what it was called - a happy mystery) and I fell, within twenty minutes of walking in the door, in with kids exactly as mis-guided as myself. This meant being brought into the one empty room on the hall (accessed with a stolen pass-key) and then shown the hole behind the dresser, which lead into a maintenance space of some kind, in which there was a hole about knee high, you crawled in there, then down a ways, around the corner and there was a sprawling den, with 'oriental' carpets, bean-bag chairs and lamps. We smoked hash (it was the 80's) and listened to the Clash. It was perfectly stupid and stupidly perfect.

Otherwise for me it's the Lake of Two Mountains. And the forest the kids come out into in the Narnia books. I never realised how deeply that had set its hooks into me until I read them with my kids. It was ... heavy.

(Fall happened last Thursday, came in kicking and biting. Knocked over a bunch of trees, spat rain and then got cold and thoroughly unpleasant. Since then it has given back some of that, it'll be back in the high 60's/ 15ish in the next few days - but wow had I forgotten how cold cold weather is.)
posted by From Bklyn at 12:33 PM on October 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

I am a city person. I always have been. I am not really one to spend more than a weekend in any sort of "nature" and my SO and friends have had challenges in getting me to go off with them to summerhouses here in Denmark. If I have a chance at a vacation that does not involve visiting family I will choose a city (right now i'm in New York). However, when I am in the highlands of Ecuador we sometimes travel to visit some natural hotsprings in Papallacta and the route we drive is stupidly BREATHTAKING. It is mountains and volcanos, and rough highland, and gold and orange scrub, and very few trees, and many boulders and cold small rivers and high clouds and an even higher sky. The air is cold and dry as we are above 3000 m, and it is incredible, and I am so happy to be there.

Another memory I sometimes have is the coast line of Sjælland especially around Skovshoved because I used to sail match races and spent a lot of time in those waters getting wet while trying not to fall in. My memories don't have too many sharp details of the coast itself but flashes and weird angles as most of the time I was either trimming sails or dodging the boom and the coast would always be at the corner of my vision.
posted by alchemist at 12:55 PM on October 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

Makes me think of a favorite bit from Milton’s l’Allegro:
Tower'd cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:35 PM on October 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

Tower'd cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,

I read this and wonder what he would think of today’s ‘towers’ - because without knowing he was writing in the 1650 this could be from ‘recent’ history.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:06 PM on October 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Something I think about a lot: twelfth century Florence was a city of skyscrapers.

In the 1300s, a law was passed there that no tower could be higher than 90 feet. Some existing ones were over 200.
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:09 AM on October 28, 2021 [4 favorites]

there used to be a couple of "set" places I would dream of off and on over the years [...] and there was a deep familiarity about them, a comfort on entering them that I felt, even asleep and dreaming, an "oh, this place, I'm back" sense of place

I have these too! One is a busy city with steep hills and a funicular. Another has muddy fields with lots of puddles.

But I also constantly think about the real landscapes where I've ever spent significant time. All of them: urban and rural, buildings, trees, terrain.

I used to feel as if I never actually left the places I moved away from, I just accreted new ones. But because of the pandemic it's been nearly two years since I've left the Bay Area, where I live now. That feels fairly awful. I'm about to buy tickets for Christmas in Montreal where I grew up. I can hardly wait.
posted by tangerine at 4:07 PM on October 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

The Newfoundland of The Shipping News is a place I think about a lot. It's unlikely I'll ever visit, but Proulx's descriptions of the landscape, language, people are so indelible in that book that I feel like I've been there.
posted by emjaybee at 8:41 PM on October 28, 2021

"... there are heroes in the seaweed."
posted by From Bklyn at 3:12 AM on November 1, 2021

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