I was looking through a few of the posts I did when I first came to LA, and thought I’d dust this one off and re-post it. After a couple of years I’ve come to like certain areas of LA, but I still feel pretty much the same as I did when I first posted this. As interesting and vibrant as some of these places are, I don’t feel at home here. Probably never will…
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Sitting here in southern California, I find myself thinking about place. I think we all have places where we feel most at home, where we feel we belong. Is this a matter of choice? Do we feel that way simply through familiarity with a certain place, or are there deeper connections at play here?
I’ve always felt more at home in northern areas, in the lake country of Minnesota and Ontario and in the northern Rockies, and I think I always will. Stories of life in the Arctic hold me spellbound. The desert and canyon country of the southwest is a beautiful and fascinating region, as is the ocean, but deep in my gut I don’t feel like I belong here. I feel like I’m in an alien world.
I’m pretty well convinced we all have ‘deep memory’, memory that has come down to us through countless generations, that has passed through every generation of our ancestors from the deep past to the present, and that we’re not consciously aware of. I think if we dig deep into ourselves we can catch a fleeting sense of it though.
I was born in the north. I was raised in the north, and I’ve always been drawn to the north. All of my grandparents were born and raised near the Arctic Circle in Finland. They all came to America as young adults and headed for the coldest, rockiest country they could find. Northern Minnesota. Maybe their inner compasses, their ‘deep memory’, told them it was a place they could call home.
Us humans are pretty adaptable. We can live and thrive nearly anywhere. Most of us, at least for the past couple of generations, have become urban creatures, and most urban areas are remarkably similar. We see the same big chain stores and restaurants and all that, with their familiar colors and flashing signs, and we feel like we’re in a familiar place wherever we go. But how much connection do we feel to these places we choose to live? I would say that the closer we’ve lived to the natural world the more we feel a disconnect with places our spirits don’t really resonate with. I can certainly feel that here in southern California. I can adapt to this region, I can live here for a time, but my roots are elsewhere and I think I’ll always sense that.
Maybe the closer we’ve lived to the natural world the more we can sense a spiritual connection to certain places. Places we deep down know we can call home. Places that are, in a sense, part of our genetic make-up. Maybe our ancient ancestral past is our greatest guide.
pj johnson — photographer
how you can help
An important part of this journey will be raising funds through this blog. Whether we like it or not, the fact is we need money to do things. I have three ways below in this sidebar that you can help if you're willing and able.
First, I have a selection of notecards and a calendar available through Redbubble, and the selection will be growing as I add new work.
I also have some affiliate links, and again I will be adding a few more. If you regularly buy from these places, it would be a wonderful thing if you went there through these links. It won't cost you any more and I make a small commission from every sale made through this site. It all helps.
Then I have a crowdfunding page at GoFundMe where you can simply donate. Any amount, and 10% of all money raised will in turn be donated to NPCA on behalf of our national parks.
You will find links to all of that below, and thanks in advance for your support.
you can follow my desert adventures at twitter too…
Simply put, buying through the links below will help fund my travels. Please do so... and don't worry. It's safe and secure.
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