My Happy Place

You know that saying, “Go to your happy place?”  I’m lucky enough to be able to visit mine several times a year.  In fact, that’s where I spent last weekend.

As soon as my bare feet hit the smooth wooden slats of my parent’s deck, I can feel my shoulders pulling down and away from my ears.  I breathe a little deeper.  I smile a little broader.  I laugh a little harder.

This was a particularly splendid visit.  I dove off of the dock, emerging from beneath the water’s surface to the chimes of my mother’s loud laugh.  I watched a sunrise with a new friend.  I explored a rocky, shore-line trail with my Germans, matching our stride to the beat of Dad’s walking stick as it clanked against stone and thumped against exposed roots.  I painted my face (and Dad’s head) with the magenta nectar from a fistful of crushed poke berries.  Then we removed the juice by scrubbing our hands with sand in the cool, clear water.

I had a long, early-morning conversation with a hummingbird.  Later, Dad showed me the bird’s pile of minuscule poo pellets.  Unlike the poke berries, we did not crush them in our hands and use them to paint our faces.

I spent hours doing nothing but watching the ever-changing water and strumming the ever-out-of-tune Herbert.  Mom and I sang in harmony to our favorite Peter Paul and Mary classics.  Then we sang decidedly out of harmony to our less than favorite Judy Collins songs.  We determined the piano was WAY out of tune.  We determined the hammer dulcimer is partly in tune.  I sang “I See the Moon” to the giant orange orb reflected on the smooth surface of the lake as I sipped prosecco and nibbled at home made tiramisu.

I learned that an old family friend, a woman whom I’d only really known as a stay at home mother, an eternally present fixture at the house down the street, had experienced more adventures than I could ever hope to even imagine for myself.  I also learned that you should never call someone from Uruguay a salami.  I developed a new appreciation for the fascinating and diverse adults my parents surrounded us with during our developing years.

I won a game of marbles, and as a result was slandered in no less than three languages.

Hemingway can have The Keys and Cuba.  I call dibs on Smith Mountain Lake.

Since we’ve established multiple times that photography is not my medium, I’m stealing some photos of my favorite place.  These were taken by my pal Joy Allain.  I think she did a pretty fantastic job of capturing the magic that is my favorite place.


  1. I like your happy place. I also applaud your parents for surrounding you with interesting people. We’ve tried to do that for our kids as well. Sounds like a wonderful weekend.

    I hope I have that good of a time with my folks for the next week. Supposedly my Mom’s less crazy right now so we’ll see…


  2. First – beautiful post. I envy your exposure to such diversity. The place itself reminds me of my home and the pictures are similar to a few of my own. There’s nothing quite like the calming influence of a dock and the moon on the surface of a lake. 🙂

    Second – I will now lower the tone of your lovely post by telling you that when I read the title, I immediately thought of my happy place. Which is from 9:30pm – approximately 12am on this past Friday night.


  3. This heartwarming & splendidly written love letter to your happy place warmed the cockles of my mostly cold little heart. Now I’ll just come out & say that you protest the idea that you crushed hummingbird crap and used it for war paint a little too much. I expect those telltale photos to emerge soon enough.

  4. i love when you write all heady like this. not that i don’t like when you write about vaginas. but this was the shizzle.

    seriously, your happy place sounds nothing less than sacred and your family and friends have obviously given you a very nurturing environment to cultivate your creative energy and spirit.

    now that you’re all recharged, give me something really irreverent tomorrow. ; )

  5. Wishing you and your guests many more happy hours at your parents’ little lakeside piece of heaven! Or . . . *eyes narrowing suspiciously* . . . did you take the Germans there just so they wouldn’t judge your housekeeping skills?

  6. Hey Elly,
    First off, thanks for stopping by my blog! Secondly, I too have a happy place very similar to yours. It belongs to my Grandparents, whom without I would not be whole. Lastly, congratulations on winning your fight! Cancer sucks. We are still fighting for our buddy but soon he will have it beat. I will try and keep up. So nice to *see* you! 🙂
    Warm hugs.

    1. I’m sending big squishy cartoon hearts and healthy thoughts to you guys. Cancer sucks balls. Big hairy gross ones. But family? Family fucking rocks. As exhibited by you guys. *hugs*

  7. I feel more relaxed just reading about your happy place — well done, and lovely pictures (especially the incredible sunrise). Now off to work with a bunch of hormonal teenagers to speak of fascinating topics like supply and demand — decidedly NOT my happy place.

  8. Sigh. Lovely.

    I clicked on the picture of your D.O.D LOL and found it esp. amusing that one of the posts suggested was Poo Tang Dynasty.

    1. Definitely my new favorite photo of Dad. Seriously. Standing there with his home-made walking stick and his bee keeper’s hat…could he be cuter?

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