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What is Your Querencia?

Querencia-an area of a bullring where a bull takes its place for the defensive stand. It can mean a safe place in a time of trouble. I think of the places in my life where I go in times of trouble.

My front porch. It looks out on a quiet neighborhood. People and dogs walk by on a regular basis. I know most of the people and dogs and I wave to them when they walk by. We may visit for a minute or two.

The front porch has a swing. It is hung from the ceiling of the porch by two lengths of chain. The swing is a great place to sit and look out at the rhododendron bush that takes up much of my neighbor’s front dooryard. The chickadees play their games inside the bush when the mood strikes them. They help me to smile when I am swinging on my porch swing.

The couch on the front porch has two pieces that run along the railings. I can lie down on the couch and wait for the hummingbird to come to the feeder. I will hear the thrumming of the wings before I see the hummingbird. If the hummingbird decides not to make an appearance that afternoon, I may close my eyes and take a nap. A lazy summer afternoon is helpful for napping.

The woods behind Mary McClellan Hospital. The hospital was built in 1917 and has been abandoned for the better part of 15 years. Its windows are broken, the roof is collapsing and the 100 foot tall steam pipe at the boiler room is falling in on itself.

The hospital sits on 100 acres of land and has trails that cut through that land. These trails are a safe place for me. They are hidden from sight by the hospital and the surrounding forest. Sitting right off one of the trails is a flat rock that is big enough for me to sit on comfortably. I can even lie down if I so choose.

The hardwood trees that surround this rock let in a shaft of light. That light falls right in the middle of the rock. The shaft of sunlight will hit me just right so that I can forget about the things that are making me sad. If I can find that spot in the sunlight between the hardwoods and sit there alone with a book of poems until the sun starts to set and the woods grow dark, I will be OK.

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