The invisible crop

Jeff, Matt and Drew at a friend's farm in Dayton, Ohio, Jeff's first Air Force assignment. Late summer, 1986

Jeff, Matt and Drew at a friend’s farm in Dayton, Ohio,
our first Air Force assignment. Late summer, 1986

“…when you give yourself to places, they give you yourself back; the more one comes to know them, the more one seeds them with the invisible crop of memories and associations that will be waiting for when you come back, while new places offer up new thoughts, new possibilities. Exploring the world is one the best ways of exploring the mind…”Rebecca Solnit

Moving frequently entails a lot of sacrifices, but the rewards can be even greater.  Though I often wished we lived closer to our extended families, or lived in a place long enough to build our own home the way we wanted it, or didn’t have to settle into new communities, churches and schools, I never regretted being an Air Force family.

Whatever we lost to relocation we gained in other aspects of life.  In fact, looking back, it’s almost as if we lived several lives, one for each place we were based.  Each location had its joys and sorrows, its unique terrain, climate and personality, and its own cast of characters, many of whom remain dear to us to this day.

In one sense, we “can never go home again,” but we leave invisible traces of ourselves in each place we have lived, and come away as different people than we would have been without our experiences there.  When we return, a thousand forgotten moments come flooding back, and the past becomes dimensional and real to our present.

What places live on in your memory?  Where have you found that exploring the world means exploring your own mind?

One year ago today:

The true traveler

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia! I totally agree.
    I think that experiencing new (to us) places helps enrich our perspective regarding the old (to us) places.
    Also, sharing an old place with an old friend from a different place helps open that place to us in a new way.

    • True, Susan! An extra set of eyes (or two or three extra sets) always sees more than one.

  2. MaryAnn

    Such magnificent JOY on display!

    • Thank you, Mary Ann.

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