The Importance of a Favorite Place…

It’s 8:30 Sunday morning in Pompano Beach, where I spend winters now. Clocks across the country moved ahead an hour, but my mind tells me it’s really only 7:30, insofar as that makes any difference. I don’t feel cheated in any way, because I’m sitting in my favorite spot on the planet, my terrace overlooking a small lake and golf course, where sunlight is splashing across the mirror surface of the water, the green of the lawns with many old Banyan trees and palms. The only sounds are those of the many songbirds and an occasional airplane on its way to some polar region.

It’s important to have a special place where you can find a sense of peace, a place where you can regenerate your spirit, even if that “place” is only a little nook in the mind, a niche bringing the memory of a quiet corner at Grandma’s house, a seat on a log in a well-loved forest retreat, or a book in which to escape for a while the world’s intrusive hustle and bustle.

Buddhists and yogi are good at creating through meditation that sense of tranquility that renews a feeling of wellbeing. I’m not so spiritually accomplished. In the middle of a traffic jam, I’m a puddle of impatience and conflict. I need the harmony and repose of an actual, physical place, where serenity is around me, usually from nature, as on a quiet beach where I’m listening to the steady pulse of waves breaking on the shore. Here is a photo of the terrace view I have over my coffee every morning.

It is here I gather amity and concord to get me through whatever I may have to face during the rest of the day. In these terms, it becomes easier to understand the purpose and power of prayer, or at least some kind of healing connection to something greater than the self alone. It may be similar to that glowing sense of communion we experience from the beauty of an exceptional piece of art, or the wordless power of a sunset.

Whatever it is, we all need it in one form or another, as a material place, or some kind of imagined or remembered environment tucked away safely in the heart and mind. Either way, it can be a place we go in order to find quiescence and strength again in an agitated and noisy world.  JB

About John

John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BA and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado. He spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth and most recent book, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014.
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