The Spirit of Place

I already knew the place had been well loved. This wilderness camp we’d come to call 3 Feathers. I knew long before I’d heard of the Mormon family that had built the cabin from trees off the land some fifty years ago. How they’d arranged the logs across the ceiling in the living area in alphabetical order: Beech, Birch, Hickory, Maple, Red Oak and White Oak. Before I knew why there were big hooks on the ceiling and scattered on trees around the cabin, and why there’d once been a zipline chair down to the road—the husband loved swings.

Before we’d met the woman who’d owned the cabin and land the longest, twenty–three years. How she’d added the screen porch saying she wanted to feel just like she was in the woods, replaced the two huge boulders out front for steps, and added a flower bed. Though alone, she said she was never afraid and that just being there was a sweet respite from her busy city job.

Before she’d sold it to a family in Massachusetts who only owned it a few years before it’d found us. They hadn’t visited much so when we bought it there was a certain silence about the place. Clearly well loved, yes, but silent. Not even birds came to our new birdfeeders.

So, Doug, my husband, and I took cornmeal and my drum and we went around the cabin and surrounding land singing to the Spirit of the Place and offering it a blessing. Mostly, we gave it our love. Within just a few weeks our birdfeeders became home to a wide variety of birds. We saw our first bear on our crittercam who’d come to check out the place, and I got to know the tree that held up the foot of my hammock. It’s just what happens when you love a place. Not with the kind of emotional love full of need but, rather, with a more devotional love that seeks connection, not completion.  

We all think of cleaning our living places, repairing what’s broken, maintaining. But do we think of blessing the space that surrounds, holds and supports us in so many ways day after day? Do we think of offering its Spirit our gratitude and love? Instead of decorating to the latest trends, what might happen if we just went about surrounding ourselves with all the things that most tenderly brought us to love? What might happen if we more clearly understood that just like our rock, plant, animal and human friends, where love only thrives from reciprocity, our surrounding places also have a Spirit seeking, not to merge with us, but rather to dance with us in mutual care and delight?

What if we suddenly knew the Spirit of a Place had as much to give, to teach us, as we to offer it? Perhaps then we’d find ourselves, more often, gently resting in its essence . . .

sheltered and at peace.

Below are some pictures of how we’ve loved our blessed 3 Feathers . . . and how it’s loved us in return . . . enjoy!

Doug’s special sign for our piece of heaven . . .
Many a marshmallow roasted here, and stories told . . .

Love this bell!
Indeed . . .
Simple pleasure . . .
Treasures from the land . . .
From our fairy garden outside . . .
Handmade by a sweet grandchild . . .
And another gift made by a grandchild . . .
And another . . . how blessed are we?
My daughter cooks amazing meals on this ole stove and I and my husband are learning too! So fun!
Doug and I painted these chairs and added the cushions . . . best seats in the house!
Made by a dear grandchild from items she found around the cabin and land . . .

Love this picture!!

This tree has taught me so much!!
Love it at night . . .
Many nights spent here . . .
We enjoy the sunset from our screen porch every night . . .
Good night!


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13 responses to “The Spirit of Place

  1. Ahjan

    I love this line about the love for the Spirit of Place, “Not with the kind of emotional love full of need but, rather, with a more devotional love that seeks connection, not completion.” Especially the give and take of connection without any thoughts of completion. The Spirit of your continued stewardship of this place is blessed, decorated with Love!

    • camilla sanderson

      YES! Ahjan, I just wrote the same thing on Facebook: I LOVE this especially: “Not with the kind of emotional love full of need but, rather, with a more devotional love that seeks connection, not completion.” Yes, yes, yes!!! ✨🌟💖🙏🕊😘

    • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt

      Thank you dearest Ahjan! So glad you got to visit!

  2. Lyrion ApTower

    Oh what a wonderful sense of place. Warm, chock full of love and coziness. Holiday blessings all around my friend!

    • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt

      Hi Lyrion, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts:) And all goodness and beauty to you as well this season and always…

  3. Eric Read

    Thanks, Stephanie – we just had a family meeting for repair and upkeep needs for an island cottage, and this reminds me that even that work can be done in a spirit of gratitude … and that I can revisit my photos when I’m not there.

    • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt

      Hi Eric, I’m so grateful to read your comments . . . how wonderful that you and your family have an island cottage! I wish for you many happy times there! Happy Holidays!

  4. Sam Truckenbrodt

    What a beautiful serene picture you have painted through words. This place of yours is where I go in meditation as my “safe” place. I had it once and will find such a place again. I will feel it when it is right. Thank you 🙏 . greatful for you all.

  5. Great pictures, Stephanie. And you and Doug are wonderful caretakers of your special place. I had the sense that you, in blessing the land, have awakened the spirit of heaven on earth.

    We are at our special place now, our cottage at Kerry’s house in Portland. We will be here until December 29, then Florida for a month.

    Have a blessed holiday season!

    John and Peggy

    • Rev. Dr. Stephanie Rutt

      Ahhhh . . . you’re very kind John! I’m so glad you got to visit and maybe someday Peggy will be able to come too:) And I’m so glad to hear you’re at your special place and then off to Florida . . . Safe travels and have a wonderful holiday season and New Year!!

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