Metatalktail Hour: Tell me of your happy place, Usul August 20, 2022 6:59 AM   Subscribe

Welcome to the weekend, Talktail friends. This week, it would cheer me immensely to hear of your happy place (or places). Maybe it's a literal location, small or large, or maybe it's an activity, or an event, a season or holiday, being with a person or group, or just some harmonious synchronicity of conditions that create a perfect moment. Where or what is it that warms the cockles of your heart?

Or just talk about what you've been up to, what you've been thinking about, what's new in your life (but NPPATY).
posted by taz (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 6:59 AM (73 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

(side question: how many cockles does it take to warm a heart?)
posted by taz (staff) at 7:00 AM on August 20, 2022

This is easy—me in my big blue overstuffed chair, book that I am loving in my hand, yummy snacks on my side table (must be able to eat one-handed while holding book), some sort of weather happening outside the big window to my left (snow or rain is ideal), soft fleece blanket, and very warm sleeping cat wedged in between me and the arm of the chair. Me drifting off into an unscheduled nap is optional.
Yes, this is very specific and I try to do this as often as I can. It will hopefully be happening later today.
posted by bookmammal at 7:36 AM on August 20, 2022 [14 favorites]

Live music played in public spaces tends to do it for me, somehow, particularly music played by a group. During the lockdowns I watched a lot of Youtube videos of flashmobs appearing in squares or shopping centers to play music, as much for seeing people hang out and relax outside and life being normal as for the music itself. A couple of weeks ago a Brazilian drum band began to play as I walked out of the local shopping center, and the emotions hit me so hard that I almost burst into tears on the spot.
posted by rjs at 7:44 AM on August 20, 2022 [5 favorites]

imperial cockles or metric cockles
posted by cortex (retired) at 8:31 AM on August 20, 2022 [11 favorites]

European cockles or African cockles? And are they laden with coconuts?
posted by Athanassiel at 8:35 AM on August 20, 2022 [5 favorites]

U8 cockles or 16-20 cockles? In general you want about 6oz per person, but it depends on the shell size, too.

I was gonna say, stuffing a delicious greasy burger with mustard and raw onions in my gaping maw on the pier at Avalon Harbor after running off the cattle boat, smelling that harbor and creosote and salt air, the sage hills, and my beloved is grinning with pleasure to finally see my favorite childhood place.
But also what bookmammal says (what a great username!), and since it's raining at this very moment and I have a book and snacks and a cat or three, well then!
posted by winesong at 9:06 AM on August 20, 2022 [8 favorites]

Happy place: Somewhere on a hill with the wind rustling the tall grasses. Sitting around a fire with friends. Coffee and cribbage.

Other stuff: I've been working on a group project that's almost wrapped up and I'm ready to spend some months not doing any more of those on my weekends for awhile. :D
posted by curious nu at 9:22 AM on August 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

snorkeling off Isla Mujeres

food and wine with friends

also, bookmammal's scenario is one I avail myself of at every chance: book, snack, cat >>> nap!
posted by supermedusa at 9:25 AM on August 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

Happy place 1: Lake Wingra, Wisconsin

Happy place 2: Simpson Park's lake, Missouri (the lake doesn't have a name independent of the park)

Basically, lakes that are easy to get to and easy to bring a canoe to and small enough that you can circumnavigate them while taking in all the little details of the scenery. Also bald eagles live in Simpson Park half of the year!
posted by Tehhund at 10:32 AM on August 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

If it involves food that I'm making (while making a glorious mess in the process), I'm happy.

In fact - my roommate had some minor surgery yesterday, so I had plans to baby him a little and that was going to involve food. I'd planned on making the nacho recipe from Binging With Babish tonight, and I had some of the ingredients already. I had black beans from Rancho Gordo I could make from scratch, I had a ton of tortillas I could fry up to make the chips, and I had some jalapenos in my plot in the community garden that were just ready to be picked so I could pickle them from scratch as well. I'd still have to procure and cook the beef and make the queso, but that would be later tonight.

I've already made the beans - but my roommate just now told me he's bouncing back faster than planned, and his crush invited him to a Cyclones game tonight so he's gonna be out anyway. But that's fine - I can still pickle the jalapenos and fry up the chips anyway and just have them be around the house, and turn the black beans into a soup using the corn I got from the CSA haul today. So I've already pivoted to making a vegetable broth using some scraps for that soup as well, and a few other kitcheny odds and ends - I got a cantaloupe and some white peaches in the CSA haul as well, so I may turn the melon into agua fresca and blitz up some of the peaches and get some Prosecco so I can make myself a Bellini later.

And best of all, my roommate has also said he'll be around tomorrow morning for the late breakfast of chilaqules I was planning on making involving some charro beans. (And I've also made the beans for those already as well.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:24 AM on August 20, 2022 [5 favorites]

(In other news - I think our super has finally started to do something about the rats in the back yard that have been chewing on the eaves to my roommate's windows, and I also saw where I think their hole is and was able to grab some marble chips from the garden and fill those holes, so I think that issue may finally be turning around. Our community garden is right next door to a restaurant, so we all got some basic "rat fighting 101" lessons.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:27 AM on August 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

Ooh - I've just discovered a recipe for lemon curd that makes only a half a cup's worth, and I have some of those pre-made graham cracker crusts in individual-portion sizes, so I may make up the lemon curd and make myself a little lemon tart with blueberries for my dessert tonight.

....Again, if it involves food that I'm making, I'm happy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:51 AM on August 20, 2022 [4 favorites]

My happy place is camping in the woods - and if there's a mountain view available, even better!

The last couple campouts getting kiboshed 'cuz Covid has hit me harder than just about any of the other knock-on effects of the pandemic. Fortunately I was able to snag a mid-September weekend at one of my favorite campgrounds so I'm really looking forward to that!
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:12 PM on August 20, 2022 [4 favorites]

Sitting in the living room, in front of my laptop. To my left a couch with two sleeping dogs. To my right a parakeet softly singing to himself. Otherwise quiet.
posted by Splunge at 12:52 PM on August 20, 2022 [6 favorites]

I recently had surgery to remove the cockles from my heart. But when they got in there, they discovered that my heart was already pretty much cockle-free. They were like, "Wow, your heart looks great for someone your age. Could probably use a few cockles, though. We're going start you on a new medication that simulates heart-cockles." I said, "Wha? I thought heart-cockles were bad for me? Isn't that why we just went through heart-cockle removal surgery?" "Definitely," they said. "That's why we're also starting you on heart-cockle simulator suppressants." Cockles.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:56 PM on August 20, 2022 [8 favorites]

or demi-cockles. He went off half-cockled.
posted by taz (staff) at 12:58 PM on August 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

Digging in the dirt for sure. Finding all the rocks and wormy friends and losing hours out in the garden and then ending up with detritus and dirt all over me makes me feel amazing.

The shower. Oh the absolute heavenly privilege of turning a tap and having hot clean water pouring over me.

With my fantastical dog exploring the neighborhood. I get a thrill of delight when he finds just the right thing to sniff and his upper lips start trembling and he hums with joy.

Laying in bed reading and listening to my sleeping husband's occasional snore or sleepy sigh is my very happiest place.

I also am a huge fan of the City Museum. I've been there a handful of times and have seriously considered moving halfway across the country so I can visit the museum weekly.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 1:09 PM on August 20, 2022 [6 favorites]

Let us not forget the sub-cockle area.
posted by Splunge at 1:11 PM on August 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

In no particular order:

Sitting on a porch by a lake in Quebec - peace
Puttering around in my workshop - creativity
Hiking in the woods near water - tranquility
When the band comes out for set two at a Phish show - excitement
Walking up the stairs for that first view of the grass at Fenway Park - tradition
When the plane rolls out onto the runway and starts to accelerate - adventure
posted by bondcliff at 2:20 PM on August 20, 2022 [4 favorites]

My recently most notable happy place is both a place, and an event.

The place: Hylkedam, a scouting terrain near the small town of Gelsted, on the large island Funen, which is in Denmark. Easily reached by car or train from mainland Europe.

The event: Bornhack, a hacker camp that takes place every summer. It's a smaller event and it's known for being extremely laid back.
Just one track tent, a full week of camp, which means: no FOMO, plenty of time to relax, an excellent bar in the woods, bicycles to borrow for free and a choice selection of very good charity stores nearby. A hot tub. Old friends, new friends.

In other words: heaven.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:17 PM on August 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

The inland lakes of upper, lower Michigan.

A winters fire place working at the queen Anne desk listening to Chopin with an old movie running on mute.

French toast.
posted by clavdivs at 3:23 PM on August 20, 2022 [5 favorites]

I don't have ~a~ favorite spot, the one that came first upon reading the post is Tucson in general, and The Saguaro National Monument parks, one east of town, the other to the west in particular, and of the two I prefer the one to the west. It's an amazing raw beauty, easy in a car or pickup but real fun on a mountain bike. Cactus of every description. Thorns. Anything that grows there is tough, and generally will be tough with you if you're not careful.

Head west, go up a rise and then through a pass and you're in another world. I don't know why I love it so but I do and that's probably all I need to know. I like any time, day or night, sunsets are just unreal. I'll find a turnout, park the truck, grab a water bottle and a flashlight and decide with pile of rocks to climb that day. Careful as you climb, this is where rattlesnakes live, and one time placing my hand as I climb would make for an unhappy day -- look twice, or three times, before I place my hand. And if I were to get bit it is not the snakes fault, I'm in their yard now. But I've not ever been bit (yet) as the caution has thus far worked out for me.

Thing is, sundown is when the desert animals come out to play. So -- caution. I'll also grab a stick to use both as climbing support but also to poke around as I climb, better that a stick set off a rattlesnake.

Anyways. Climb up, maybe top out but maybe not -- what I'm looking for is good sunset view. When I find where I want to be, I'll sit down, settle in, and just be there. It's really quiet, I don't generally notice the tinnitis but I hear it there, it's sortof like looking at a blue blue sky and noticing the imperfections in your vision that don't show up unless you're open to noticing them. As the show goes on, a gorgeous golden light begins to come on, it's in the sky but it gets onto the rocks and cactus and just everything; again, no such thing as most favorite place but this is sure beautiful, and it gets in on me in a big way. The quiet gets louder IE I notice it more as the show goes on.

The one thing I don't like -- people who live there, who leave yard lights on; if it were up to me there would be some sort of law, use your goddamned light and then turn it off, a light can be seen for miles in the desert, a distraction from the beauty. But the fact is that if I'm noticing lights, it's probably time to head back to the pickup. I've climbed down in full dark some but that's pretty dumb, our friends the snakes are really on the move now, and even with a flashlight, you're not going to see everything. Only once have I climbed down in full dark without a light -- dumb. It was one of my first times sunsetting there. I didn't have a stick, either. Fear taught me to be more aware, have enough water, good light, a stick.

I get back to my pickup and I've got peace all over me, I'll turn the radio down or off as I drive, and no hurry, and anyone wants to hurry I let them by -- I want to hang onto that peace. It's as good or better than meditation, maybe it is some sort of meditation, I guess that it is for me. It's that quiet, and that golden beauty, and the heat and the raw, rugged country, and the solitude, not that I"m against going with someone but it's a drag if it's the wrong someone, they're maybe wanting to talk about politics or sunscreen or whatever, I'm mostly not wanting to talk at all. I guess put it this way: it's great if it's the right someone. And might be you'll find out if a person is the wrong someone, something to consider about various someones.

There are also great turnouts for night-time, amazing beauty under a big honkin' moon, either in the truck or on the truck, leaning back on the windshield. There is so little humidity that the moon throws huge shadows, one hell of a show....

Some other time I'll write about West Texas, Big Bend country, raw and hot and beautiful, and desert rat Texans, a special breed, and one that I sure like.
posted by dancestoblue at 4:28 PM on August 20, 2022 [9 favorites]

The pool at my gym, when no one else is there.

My church, when no one else is there.

I'm sensing a theme.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:43 PM on August 20, 2022 [11 favorites]

My happy place is my bar, a dive where there’s live music every night and sometimes in the afternoon. From my house, it’s a short bike ride or walk. I always know someone there, as it is full of regulars and the bartenders are long timers. They know me by name, they sometimes play my music mixes over the sound system, and my favorite musicians play there. I’ve performed there as a poet many times over the last thirty (!) years. Over the pandemic, it was closed for 444 days, and now that I can go there anytime again, the world is all right with me.
posted by Riverine at 4:57 PM on August 20, 2022 [6 favorites]

1) In general, that moment, when you're dressed and ready to go out for the evening, and it's the early, pink/blue part of dusk, and it's warm out, and the lights are starting to come on and the everything feels full of possibility.

2) Arrival at a new place, when the air smells different and rare, and again full of possibility.

3) Boring, but, outside, warm wind, facing the sea in the salty air. Shade. Comfortable seat. Close enough to hear the waves. Plenty of reading material, and depending on the time of day, an insulated cup full of g&t with lots of limes.

4) Leather chair. Fireplace. Tea/Whiskey (depending on the hour). Pile of books. Outside cold, gray/green and rainy. Inside Bill Evans on the stereo. Maybe McCoy Tyner. At Christmas, Vince Guaraldi.

5) When I need to visualize a happy place, I usually think about louding against velvet pillows on a pile of crinolines, drinking a hot toddy, watching kittens frolic, while various great evening gown owners of history tell me about their favorite dresses soundtracked by some combination of Donna Summer and the David Bowie discography, roughly "Space Oddity"-"Scary Monsters."
posted by thivaia at 6:21 PM on August 20, 2022 [9 favorites]

My happy place is looking at the pebbles on the ground while I crunch along and take the time to examine them. This is usually without others, those I used to do this with are gone on ahead of me. I also love the Nevada desert, and the California hills and canyons. I love the cool early mornings. My happy places are many, and coffee in my living room is as good as any.
posted by Oyéah at 6:51 PM on August 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

When the lights dim at the movies.
posted by shiny blue object at 7:19 PM on August 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

I have had a few over the years, but one of the best has long been playing Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance (and Dark Alliance II) with my sister. For several years, it was as much a Christmas tradition as Christmas.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 7:24 PM on August 20, 2022 [1 favorite]

I agree w any combination of good book, bad weather, warm drink, snoring pup and squishy, nap inducing seating.

When the drums start at a live show

Walking into anew used bookstore and getting that hit from the old book smell
posted by jacy at 7:30 PM on August 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

When the drums start at a live show

When drums stop very bad. Next come bass solo.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:40 PM on August 20, 2022 [6 favorites]

Walking the beach looking for sea glass, wampum, or even better sea marbles, then getting in the water and opening my eyes under the water.

Moments at work when amazing or crazy things happen.

Skiing though I have not been since...2019.

The Vineyard, I'll never regret moving here year round in 2013. I can be myself, and keep to myself here. I have old friends here. I've had a positive impact here.
posted by vrakatar at 10:19 PM on August 20, 2022 [3 favorites]

on the beach in Ecuador, my daily visit my favorite food/grill shack, sitting at a plastic table, on a plastic stool in flip-flops with my toes in the sand, under the hot sun with an ice-cold coca-cola, watching beachgoers walk by, listening to the mix of football and music coming from various tv's/radios, waiting for my favorite dish of camarones encocados con patacones made with shrimp that were freshly caught that morning just a few hundred meters down the street.
posted by alchemist at 10:55 PM on August 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

My happy place is the beach in West Sussex, happily I was there last week but with the heatwave it was packed! For a more local happy place, I’ve been taking a book to a cafe once a week this summer to try and read more, being in central Paris there are so many I’m not yet trying to become a regular at one in particular but I do want to narrow it down to a handful eventually.
posted by ellieBOA at 1:16 AM on August 21, 2022 [3 favorites]

In Nebraska, in the Platte river helping my dad clear the brush piling up behind the bridge to his island.
On the Oregon beach with my husband trying to beat the birds to un-pecked-on sand dollars.
In my chair with the NYT magazine puzzles and coffee watching the NBA or the Metropolitan Opera.
The earth has so many great places it would be hard to choose just one.
posted by Cranberry at 1:40 AM on August 21, 2022 [4 favorites]

Cranberry, one of my most favorite places is the spot where the Platte River begins! I'll send good wishes down the cool sparkling waters to you.
posted by mochapickle at 3:45 AM on August 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

A hammock under the mango trees by the beach on the island of Barú near Cartagena in Colombia. My wife is in another hammock and my son is hanging out on the beach, playing. I have some sort of cold fruit juice and a fully loaded ebook reader.
Somebody brings us snacks.
posted by signal at 6:35 AM on August 21, 2022 [6 favorites]

My happy place is wherever I am with my husband. And now that the kids are grown, my extra-happy place is wherever we're all together. So, come mid-September, my extra-happy place will be Ireland, where we (me, husband, two adult children) will be vacationing for the very first time.
posted by cooker girl at 7:15 AM on August 21, 2022 [4 favorites]

I'm very sorry for your loss, I shot a fox. Just this morning I was contemplating the inevitable hard end of happy marriages.
posted by HotToddy at 11:06 AM on August 21, 2022 [4 favorites]

Just reading through this thread makes me feel calm and happy - what lovely imagery. Great topic!

One of my happy places is outdoor music festivals. They have their drawbacks (crowding, obnoxious people, portapotties, etc), but nothing beats sitting on a blanket in some shade, relaxing and listening to music from a band that's doing their thing, and peoplewatching. It's a nice time to shut the brain off for a little bit.

Speaking of music, I'm taking the fiance to see Peaches tonight. He's familiar with her music, but I'm not sure he's prepared for her live show. We'll find out in a few hours.
posted by Sparky Buttons at 12:21 PM on August 21, 2022 [8 favorites]

Please report back, SB!
posted by mochapickle at 1:19 PM on August 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Being on a boat, preferably on the ocean, but really any body of water will do.

Recently we've been swimming in the lake around the corner from our 'new' place. The water has a very specifically 'wet-canvas' smell. We're interlopers in the lives of the people who have been there since for always - which isn't bad or good, it just is and when I go down to the shore to go in and there's a bunch of kids or teenagers or one of the older folk there - I gotta think about time. The time ahead of some of the swimmers, the time behind others. How this one modest body of water has swaddled them, floated them, provided them with some measure of pleasure and maybe succor or relief or diversion for decades or less than a decade, but maybe decades to come. Little Finn jumps off the dock and how many more times will he jump off the dock?
Growing up we lived by a different lake (on an entirely different continent (though roughly the same latitude)) and about five years ago I was back there with my sister and the smell of the water, of the algae drying on the rocks it hit like a cannonball. It was like it had always been there and we had just not been paying close enough attention time compressed and sprung out of shape and - man. It was though I had been living a life in the wrong place all those years. Leaving or staying had been out of my hands but I can not believe leaving was the right choice and the smell of the Lake of Two Mountains, its effect is as powerful as anything I've ever known
So I push out into the lake, evening, summer heat not yet gone and wonder if one of my fellow-swimmers will have the same experience someday, of going away far away and for long enough to forget the smell of this their first beloved lake (whether or not they even know it is beloved or how beloved it might be) and then coming back one day and smelling the water and wanting sit down and cry with happiness and relief and just joy to be back.

My heart goes out to you, I shot -
posted by From Bklyn at 1:21 PM on August 21, 2022 [7 favorites]

In the driver's seat on a sunny day on a long empty highway with a light herbal buzz and the best songs playing through the speakers, heading toward adventure.

By the river, you know the spot, where the rapids break the flow and ducks paddle in the soft slow eddies near the banks. That old tree remains and a tail of rope frayed after all these decades hangs high and unreachable, like the past.

On my bike heading over the bridge as a trio of pelicans in formation fly low over the water and land, one a little clumsily, to sit proud on the water, dipping their beaks. I stop, watch, breathe, and consciously live that moment.

Joy is not random.
posted by Thella at 2:27 PM on August 21, 2022 [3 favorites]

Joy, in a way that makes the hair on my arms stand up, and get physical chills: every time (and I am so very lucky, there have been many) I see the Doni Tondo, by Michaelangelo.
Joy that made me weep for its pure natural beauty - atop the Colorado National Monument for an early autumn sunset.
Joy deep in my heart - a quiet evening reading with my husband.
posted by dbmcd at 2:41 PM on August 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

I'm the kind of person who will answer "it depends" to almost any "what's your favorite..." type questions. But this, this question is one of the few I have an absolute answer for: Canandaigua lake in the New York Finger Lakes. I've never lived there myself, but have family/friends there and visiting always brings an overwhelming sense of peace and serenity.

Side question: is there a list of all the MetaTalktail Hour prompts somewhere? I'm sure I could get it by searching, but just wondering if there's an easier way.
posted by noneuclidean at 4:54 PM on August 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

A tag search for "MetatalktailHour" or metatalktails would do it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:00 PM on August 21, 2022

Every night my partner comes over with dinner groceries and sits on the sofa with my dog and I put some music on and fix us drinks and and cook dinner and feel so happy and mellow cooking and singing and chatting and maybe he comes over and kisses my neck and then we eat and we give the dog our plates to clean and then he does the dishes. It’s my favorite thing in the world and I get to do it almost every night.
posted by HotToddy at 5:03 PM on August 21, 2022 [9 favorites]

Second gear on my motorbike, mid-revs and throttle held wide open, straightening out from the turn and pointing uphill.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:19 PM on August 21, 2022 [5 favorites]

Two places. Being in the bleachers at Yankee stadium on a sunny afternoon with a cold beer in my hand (and a few in my stomach). I really enjoy watching baseball by myself although I am good with company too.

I also like to go on long drivesby myself with the windows down, the music on and just checking out things I never saw before. I also find it relaxing to go on a long drive, say 6 hours from home to C'ville.

There is also a lot to be said for the afternoon outdoor nap. A lot. Even better was when I had my cabin in the ADK by the lake.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:24 PM on August 21, 2022 [4 favorites]

Camping by the beach, or on the beach even better. We are currently planning a two-week trip to and around Far North Queensland (Cairns, Port Douglas, Daintree & Cape Tribulation) that will involve lots of beachside camping. The downside is that some of those campsites will be shared with the local crocodiles, but I guess you can't have everything!
posted by dg at 5:32 PM on August 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Out of the hundreds of possible answers, I'm going to pull this random one from the cockle archives. I'm about twelve. My parents have just started letting me stay home alone sometimes when the rest of the family is doing something I'm not interested in. Of course I've played alone in my room or in the back yard, but with three younger siblings and a stay-at-home mom, I've never in my life been completely alone in the house. Until now. I'm all alone. I have the house to myself. If you're a fellow introvert, you know that lovely, expansive, free feeling. I roam the house, feeling it.

I investigate the books on my parents' bedside bookshelves. I read The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, which is interesting and - surprise! - has foul language in it. I have never heard anyone but a kid say words like "fuck" or "shit." I kind of thought that was kid language, recognized by adults as very bad, but not actually used by adults. But apparently adults casually swear when no kids are around! Then I discover The Complete Sherlock Holmes and I read bits of it every time I'm alone. I have a crush on Holmes.

(I wasn't sure how my parents would feel about me reading their books and I was a secretive kid by nature anyway, so for a long time I only read Sherlock Holmes in secret when no one was there. Eventually my mom found me doing it and told me it was fine to read their books and I could take it to my room if I wanted to and eventually I did.)
posted by Redstart at 6:15 PM on August 21, 2022 [6 favorites]

Oh! Don't know why I didn't think of this before, but having only been driving since earlier this year, I am starting to find a kind of happy place in long drives alone.

Also, it's a little hectic in the preparation sometimes, but running D&D is pretty great, too.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:13 PM on August 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

Usul's happy place? hugs, kisses, and a bandaid
posted by slater at 8:56 PM on August 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

On many mornings here in Amsterdam, my wife and I grab some coffee and some cookies or cake and walk a block over to sit on our favorite bench along the Amstel River. At that time of morning you get small boats going by, kayakers, stand-up paddlers and of course the coots and crested grebes and herons and cormorants calling out. Some days when the clouds and sun align just right there is a wonderful light on the river.

Something that has been giving me a wonderful sense of well-being lately is an activity that few people here will relate to but is quite common here in the northern countries - a cold plunge. We just did this on Friday in Utrecht. First we got our bodies really warm in a sauna and then plunged into a Dompelbad. It is a fantastic shock to your system, clears your mind and afterwards your body has a warm glow to it. We did the cycle several times and took time too to take naps, skinny dip in a lake and also just lay in the sun chatting and reading.
posted by vacapinta at 3:04 AM on August 22, 2022 [4 favorites]

Jockey's Ridge, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
My grandmother's house in Virginia.
Atwater Village and Glendale on a cool, clear night at 3am.
Kirk Creek Campground at Big Sur.
Albion Marina and Campground in NorCal.
Ayers-Kreh pine tree farm in the winter in Virginia, with a mug of hot chocolate or apple cider.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve in the winter, early spring, and when the poppies bloom.
The Flying J truck spot at Frazier Mountain, oddly enough.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:25 AM on August 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

Relaxing with my family in a place along a stream/lake/river with a view of the mountains and lush greenery with gentle breeze and temperature being around 75deg(perfect weather) like Any National Parks

Spending time alone at my place of worship.
posted by SunPower at 7:29 AM on August 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

Kasjuni Beach, Split, Croatia. Croatia in general, even. We're not Croatians, but the country made a strong enough impression that we're looking at retiring there.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:40 AM on August 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

First we got our bodies really warm in a sauna and then plunged into a Dompelbad.

I've managed to do that once in my life and I'd love to do it again. It was wonderfully relaxing!

It wasn't in one of the typical countries for that, it was actually in northern Florida on a rare cold winter night, probably in the 40's (F, <10C). Some friends had built a small sauna and dug a spot along one side of a spring-fed creek next to it that was deep/wide enough for 1 or 2 people to get in it up to their necks.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:52 AM on August 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

First we got our bodies really warm in a sauna and then plunged into a Dompelbad. It is a fantastic shock to your system, clears your mind and afterwards your body has a warm glow to it.

Way back when I was a teen, I went on a canoeing trip around Lake Rotoiti (NZ) and we can across the Manupirua thermal springs (which, back then, looked a lot more like the history photos than the super-slick report style place it is now). There are cascading pools all the ay up the hill, growing ever hotter as you get closer to the spring itself, so you can start at the bottom and gradually acclimatise to the hot water until you're sitting in water hot enough to turn your skin red. Then you jump out, run down the hill, out onto the jetty and dive into the freezing cold lake. Once your heart starts beating again, it's the most wonderful feeling of refreshment and 'aliveness' you can imagine.

I've always thought I'd go back there one day, but it appears to have been turned into a generic resort and I doubt it would be the same experience today that it was back in the '70s.
posted by dg at 3:04 PM on August 22, 2022 [4 favorites]

I tried (and failed) to find it on Street View to link, but my happy place is known in my house as "the seafood hall of heaven" (ie: I don't know the real name). In Kota Kinabalu there's a place which is just loads of seafood restaurants around a central bunch of tables. It's mostly Chinese food rather than Sabah/Malaysian, but I'm basically just going to point at things in tanks and then ask for that with garlic and chilli. There's a non-seafood place that does excellent satay too.
posted by pompomtom at 6:44 PM on August 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

I love being out in a park, walking for miles in woods, through meadows, or along streams. But in the past few years, I've realized that one of the places that makes me the happiest is the deck in my backyard. It's really just a plain elevated platform no more than 18 inches off of the ground, but I get a pretty good view of the backyard (which is only 40 feet wide and goes about 100 feet back from the deck) and the surrounding properties. They've got lots of trees and are pretty green during the growing season. Here in New Jersey, the weather cooperates enough that I can sit outside and read for about 5 months in the early evenings, and it's glorious watching the plants, birds, mammals, insects, and sky change through late spring into fall. Sometimes I steal a few more minutes on the deck than I should, and then dinner's late, but my wife and son seem to forgive me.
posted by mollweide at 8:01 PM on August 22, 2022 [2 favorites]

I think I mentioned this in another post taz.

I spent a month in North Carolina when I was young, Going to Biltmore was like Wonkaville. The largest house in America and in Being There. I should post my old hard copies but Mt.Pisgah. blueridge parkway, Ya. The Pisgah Inn. I remember watching the sun set and the shadows rise from about 3 booths to the left from here.
posted by clavdivs at 8:52 PM on August 22, 2022

I hiked to the top of Mt. Pisgah one afternoon about 16 years ago, stuck around to watch the sunset, then realized I was going to have to hike back down in the dark. And this was no smooth trail we're talking about, it was going to be a ~45-minute scramble down a boulder-strewn and barely discernible path. Fortunately I thought to bring a flashlight...which died just as I reached the parking lot and could see my car even without it. It was a damn spectacular sunset though, totally worth it!
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:32 PM on August 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

I used to live there! Not in Biltmore :D. But Brevard. My Dad worked for the Pisgah Ranger District.
posted by taz (staff) at 3:44 AM on August 23, 2022 [1 favorite]

Luckynerd's Happy Place:

Privately owned land near North Edwards, CA, out in the Mojave desert. I attend Neotropolis and Wasteland Weekend there. A space where flipping people off is like saying "I love you." Trash talk and playing frenemies is done all in fun. If you're a creep or up to no good, you'll get corrected. If you're an evildoer, you'll get banned.

Second to this is where the build crew gets together to build things.
posted by luckynerd at 10:03 AM on August 23, 2022

Kindle, Phone with my music on SD card, earbuds, sofa, beach or any reclining seat.

Plane taxi-ing and take off.

Grinding coffee for pour over or cold brew.
posted by k3ninho at 11:00 AM on August 23, 2022

Happy place: The Library Garden at Pollok House, Glasgow. I've been going there since I was about 3 or 4, back when the tearoom was in the top floor of the house and you could sip your warm cola and nibble of a faintly stale empire biscuit while gawking at A Lady in a Fur Wrap. The smell of the ornamental box hedges is 100% memories.
posted by scruss at 7:04 AM on August 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Being the 69th comment in this thread.
posted by terrapin at 2:25 PM on August 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

i'm not even mad, that's amazing
posted by cortex (retired) at 4:19 PM on August 26, 2022


No way. That is were we stayed, just outside. we had an acre adjoining family friends land. Wonderful people. They were teachers in Ann Arbor and specialized in tutoring, mentoring. Mel and Bev. I'll use their names because they'd be tickled. Mel had the most wonderful paperweight collection. I loved their house in Ann Arbor, lots of bookcases a map case long picture windows with hummingbirds outside.
originally that land was set aside for me but it was sold a long time ago when parents got divorced. I remember we would all play a game called Tripoli which is akin to Michigan rummy. I remember one night Mel did the old slideshow from their trip to Japan and Korea and I was about the only one that was interested in watch the whole thing.
posted by clavdivs at 7:51 PM on August 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

The swimming hole right off the Twisp, WA city park is a place that is bound to bring relaxation and joy. Our family can easily spend a day, picnicking, reading, hammocking, jumping off rocks and generally having a great time. Bookend that with a Cinnamon Twisp in the morning and a nice beer in the evening and you've spent a pretty perfect day.
posted by brookeb at 8:31 PM on August 26, 2022

At the moment my happy place is on a tennis court matched against a ball throwing machine. I’ve improved significantly over just a couple of weeks hitting about 300 balls a day. I’ve not been particularly good at sports my entire life and I’ve tried many. I may never actually play against another human, I love this machine so much. My dog needs to chill the fo, tho. She is trying to bring all of the balls back to me as I am hitting them. When I leave her outside of the court fence she cries so much.
posted by waving at 8:15 PM on August 28, 2022

H Mart.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:02 PM on September 13, 2022

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