I have what I call a “re-occurring dream location.” It’s a place that I’ve known intimately in my real life, and for some reason it is the location of many of my dreams. I don’t have any other re-occurring dream location, just this one. This landscape is a place that my body remembers viscerally and my mind holds many fond and somewhat distant memories. It is the intersection of land and sea, nostalgia and coming of age, of past and present.

My grandparents built a house in this particular junction of the world when I was born. We acknowledge this particular land was and still is home to the Suquamish people, and my family has been privileged to be guests in this beautiful corner of the world. My grandpa carved salmon and birds in his wood shop, and my grandma would collect driftwood and transform them into “Santas” she would sell at craft-fairs. For the remaining years of both their lives, I would spend hours combing for sea glass, picking raspberries, cracking crab, building sandcastles, and walking the worn down path to the beach. I can smell the air and I can taste it too. Salty, fresh, sweet.

It is a landscape that often brings me a sense of calm and peace. Since both of my grandparents have passed on, my family and I have returned a handful of times to the place where we created so many memories and were taught so much. It’s not too far away, but for some reason it feels out of the way to visit often. Which maybe is the reason why my dreams take place there. There is a desire deep within me to return to this special location again and again.

I am learning about how important it is to re-connect to our landscapes. It is apparent that we as people have lost touch to the land that provides us with its abundance of resources to choose from and live off of. What would happen to each of us if we just spent a little more time reacquainting ourselves to the landscapes in which we dwell, or from which we came from? What do these places have to teach us, to remind us, to convict in us?

Where do you return when you need to remember or to reconnect? Where to you feel a sense of home?

I created an image of this landscape so that I could keep it close and let it serve as a reminder of the ways it benefits me and my well-being. I hope I continue to carry it with me in my dreams as well.

Alissa Swank