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Quarterly

Through Another's Eyes

By Graceann Macleod

As I sat here staring at my blank computer screen, I began to worry that I wouldn't be able to find anything to share with you this quarter, and I do enjoy it so.  The simple fact is that I keep running out of new places to write about.  I've been busy showing all my favorite spots to people I love, and seeing them myself as if for the first time.  It occurs to me that there's something special to be explored in that experience, so that's what I'll talk about today.   

Never go on trips with anyone you do not love. ~ Ernest Hemingway

Island Magic

Regular readers of this column know that my favorite place on the planet is St. Simons Island, Georgia.  I've now introduced no less than five people to its charms, and I hope to show more beloveds through those majestic live oaks before I'm done (Next up:  my sweet mother-in-law.  I can't wait to photograph her under the live oaks).  Every time I take someone new to St. Simons, I find something there that I hadn't known about, simply by seeing what takes my friend's fancy.  I was hugely relieved when my husband enjoyed our visit to the Island; it would have made for most uncomfortable travel planning in the future if he never wanted to go back!  So, over the course of sixteen years and seven visits, I've taken boat tours, gone on book hunts, seen dolphins outside my hotel, and taken pictures of a blissfully kayaking spouse.  Each guest or relative I've escorted to the Island has given me a new level of appreciation for it, and I'm profoundly grateful—so much so, I once sent a thank-you note to a person who had joined me on the trip, even though she felt she was the one who had received the gift.

Being a Tourist in Your Hometown

I've done things I hadn't experienced since I was on class trips because friends came to town and wanted to see the sights.  I balked, initially.  I'm the least interested person you could find when it comes to the city in which I grew up.  I always used my vacation days to get as far away from it as possible.  Then people started showing up and pointing out the pretty places and quiet spaces whose existence I had forgotten.  Imagine my befuddlement when I gave a ride to a friend who lives in one of the most beautiful cities in the country, and she started “ooohing” and “aaahing” over the 1920’s architecture that I had stopped noticing during my childhood.  When we got down to the lakefront, where all I saw were drunken college students, she saw rolling waves, beautiful yachts and dogs romping in the water.  We both went home with gifts that day – she with a deepening of our friendship, and I with a new appreciation for a town that had lost its luster in my eyes long before.

There are Wars and Then There are Wars

When I took my big vacation last autumn, I returned to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  I was a bit concerned about whether or not my husband would enjoy visiting this historic location, because he's Scottish and, understandably, his school system spent about as much time on the American Civil War as my American school did on the War of the Roses.  I provided him with a crash course in the major players in this particular battle (and promised him plenty of antiquing), and off we went.  To my relief, he had a marvelous time, as did I.  We discovered (or rediscovered, in my case) the Eisenhower Farm, and learned that Ike was a far more interesting man than we'd given him credit for.  We had a great tour guide who provided comprehensive, but not overwhelming, information on the major points of the 1863 Battle, and we went back over the places that intrigued us most.  We even stepped back in time, with a truly old-fashioned wet-plate photo session (None of those fishnet stockings and bottles of booze for us—we sat for a Capital-P Portrait). The upshot of

 

all of this was that, even though I'd been to Gettysburg three times before, it was as though it was brand-new to me, because I was seeing it through my husband's eyes.

So maybe I did have a little something to write about.  This time, I'm not writing about a new place I've visited, but the new way I'm seeing places I've loved for a long time.  This time, I'm urging others to take their beloveds to the places that soothe their souls.  I never realized how much new there was to find, until I started seeing it through someone else's eyes.

I have plans in mind for the coming months.  There are things I want to see for the first time, certainly, and if the economy allows, I will.  However, there are old favorites I'm just itching to show to my favorite people, if they'll let me.  I have a girlfriend who has never been to Michigan, and I want her to see how beautiful the sunset is over Muskegon Harbor, and to let her hug the Buster Keaton Statue for herself.

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Autumn© 2012 Maryland 20878®

 

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