Thursday, June 30, 2011

Morning Meadows

"Wildflower Field" print by Wild Orange Studio

I am obsessed with meadows.

That's an important fact about me.  I love meadows surrounded by trees and full of wildflowers, and I have for as long as I can remember.  My first distinct memory of a meadow that truly affected me was in the 6th grade, during my week at Exploring New Horizons Outdoor School along the central coast of California.  Aside from the gorgeous and towering redwoods that have always been natural beauties to me, there was one particular hike that our naturalist took us on that led to a wide, round, tree-lined meadow.  We were given an assignment to sit in the meadow in silence and write a poem.  No further instruction, just... write.  Write what we felt; whatever "a poem" meant to us, write it.

I have no recollection of what I wrote, but I remember my 6th-grade-brain thinking it was pretty darn good.  That poem is one of the very few "long lost things" of my childhood that I would do anything to see again.

Six years later, I re-visited that same meadow in the redwoods of Loma Mar—this time, as a camp counselor.  Even though I wasn't able to experience the calm and silence that I did in the 6th grade (no poem assignment this time) due to a crowd of rambunctious 11-year-olds, it was still as beautiful and inspiring as I remembered.

"Summer Solstice" by Ann Wilkinson

Sometimes I think that the idea of meadows, and what I've come to associate with them, is what led me to the Pacific Northwest.  Silly, of course, because there are meadows everywhere—absolutely beautiful ones all over the country.  But they mean something to me that's a little more spiritual than what they might signify for most people, and there was something idyllic and natural about the landscape of the NW that held a lot of sway over me after years and years of using meadows as my "mental happy place". (C'mon, we all have one.)

Plus, I suppose reading (okay, devouring) Twilight and The Time Traveler's Wife when I was 21 didn't help matters either.

I can't say I've run across a lot of meadows in the two and a half years I've lived here.  However, I haven't really been searching, either.  Meadows are rather elusive in my eyes, like four-leaf clovers or liberal Christians.  You'll find one when you find one.

But that all may change this weekend.  There are tentative plans to celebrate the 4th of July with a rowdy romp to Mt. Rainier... the meadow haven of the Pacific Northwest.  Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky!

Lupine Wildflowers, Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington by Daniel Ewert

There is a distinct difference between a meadow and a field.   Maybe not in definition, but I personally view fields as vast, public and loud.  They're what line the highways outside the cities, and where horses and cattle graze.  But meadows... meadows are small, private and calm.  Often, they're hidden and secret.  At least, the perfect ones are.

Meadows are my church.  They symbolize a physical space in the world that is designed for meditation and reflection.  Even without being physically in the middle of one, it is easy to mentally put myself there.

I can't imagine anything more peaceful.

"Through" by Linn Photography

"When I first open my eyes upon the morning meadows and look out upon the beautiful world, I thank God I am alive." — Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. I love this entry. It makes me happy and it makes me want to leave work and go sit in a meadow somewhere.

    It also makes me want to drive up to the NW to see you!

  2. Meadows are my happy place too, and I'm with you on the spiritual element. I believe that reading an early scene in What Katy Did as a 6-year-old was what set me on the path of thinking of meadows as idyllic, beautiful, serene places.

    I haven't been fortunate enough to see any meadows like the ones in my imagination (even though I live in BC - just never seem to be in the right place at the right time), but I will continue my search. Wildflowers are very important. A mountain background is preferable!