I once believed that I was not suited for any landscape outside of Tennessee. I was a green and rust girl, addicted to leaf-litter and streams, katydids and quail. How could I learn to love anything other than what I had known?

When I moved to eastern Virginia, I found everything too vast. Too much sky, too much ocean, too much horizon. The sand, pine straw, and salt marshes shifted unpredictably underfoot. There were no katydids. If there were quail, I couldn’t hear them for the gulls.

Virginia was blue and beige, flat and salty. It felt barren, a virtual moonscape compared to the ridges and hills of “home”. And I felt jaggedly out of place, a coarse river-stone rolled loose by some sudden flood and washed all the way down to the sea.

Fourteen years later, the coast has grown on me, and in me. I’m still a girl of green and rust, but no longer frightened by sky. The sand has polished me a bit. I’ve discovered that a little salt in the water does not equal poison. Best of all, there are green places here, too, where I can feel at home.

9 thoughts on “Landscapes

  1. Ambre Falls February 18, 2012 / 8:05 PM

    Beautiful pics! I especially like the 3rd.

  2. kathrynmartins1 February 4, 2012 / 11:43 AM

    Rae, thank you for posting this. I’m very grateful to have found your blog. Your language is lovely, so evocative, and i enjoy the way you experience your surroundings. This made me think of a favourite singer-songwriter, Dar Williams. Her song “After All” has this line that goes, “When you live in a world, well it gets into who you thought you’d be.” How true 🙂 In case you haven’t heard it, here’s a link to her incredible song:

    Thanks again.

    • Rae Spencer February 4, 2012 / 1:55 PM

      Thank you for the link! (I must confess that my unwritten “rule” for this blog is to avoid comments that include links, but rules are made to be broken…)

  3. mdphotographers February 3, 2012 / 11:27 PM

    Beautiful pictures especially the 2nd one. Thanks for sharing!.

  4. Spiral Dreamer (Francis) February 3, 2012 / 10:19 PM

    Its always take years to get used to a new landscape and discover what’s there as it grow on us. Your pictures are beautiful as the countryside you describe. Thank for sharing so much of your experience.

    • Rae Spencer February 3, 2012 / 10:35 PM

      I didn’t realize, when I moved here, that it would be so hard to love the coast. It’s basically a beach, and who doesn’t love a beach? I’m learning to love it, but it has indeed taken years. Maybe I would love it more if there were moose! (I have really enjoyed your moose pictures…)

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