The Place

After years of going back to a place you love,you may have so many memories of the place that whenever you think about it you become calm and still as the lake at evening when the hills and trees are mirrored there. You can imagine your way back any time, following trails you know by heart, with arteries of roots, and you hold onto the place inside the way the tentacled roots of a birch grip a granite boulder shagged with ferns. But there is always something calling you back further, to childhood summers spent there, or even further, beyond specific memories, until memory itself, in its purest form, is made of blue lakes nestled into foothills and rivers the color of ale plunging over rust-orange rocks then deepening for long still stretches where pines and hemlocks lean out over the bank, as you lean too, thinking, wherever you are. And when you think of actually going back, you can already feel how that place in you will go rushing out to meet the real place, which, itself, will lie before you, more vivid than you remembered, or more vivid because you remembered it, each layer of your memory adding a bluer gloss to the lake's surface and polishing the leaves so that they shine.

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