Where do you call home? Where is it your soul resonates with that inner-knowing that you belong there? Where do you go to feel grounded or rooted?
For me, my soul-home is a stretch of earth between Oregon and Washington along the Columbia Gorge. This is the place where my spirit melts into the landscape. It is the place that draws me to take lingering drives, hike to the top of great monoliths, hug ancient trees, listen to the wisdom of towering waterfalls, flow with the great Columbia River, and soar in the breeze with Owls, Eagles and other winged creatures.
It is also the place where the large-eyed, Native American petroglyph/pictograph, Tsagiglal sits perched on a cliffside overlooking the Columbia River.
The Wishram legend tells that Coyote was walking up and down the Columbia River. He was telling the chiefs that the world was going to “change over.” He came to a spearfish village on the Washington side and he asked the people if they were living well. They said “Yes, we are, but you should talk to our chief, Tsagaglal. She lives up on the hill. She stands on the high cliff.”
So Coyote went up the hill and told Tsagaglal, “The world is going to change over. Why do you like to stand up here?”
She said, “I like to stand and watch over my people and see that they live well. I want to see that they have lots of salmon, venison, berries, roots, good shelter. I like to watch over my people and see that they live in peace.”
Coyote said, “Then, forever that will be.” Coyote used his power and changed her into a rock on a high cliff so she could watch over her people forever.
To this day, the tribe’s devoted guardian, Tsagiglal, watches over her people and is known as “She Who Watches.”
Years ago, I visited this sacred stone and have seen her wide-eyes up close. There was something about this stone imprint that helped bind the past to the present; Something about her beautiful broad-faced image with her luminous eyes and wide smile that I connected with. I too, am one who watches. As a Deaf woman, I use my eyes as my way of receiving information and understanding the world. Visiting this rock was not only magical, but personally meaningful. I shared with her a sense of identity.
It is in the Pacific Northwest that I feel most spiritually connected to my Source and the Universe around me. Some of my most soulful relationships grew from this piece of earth. It is the place where my husband courted me before we married, and the place we bought our first home. It’s where I got my first big job counseling students at a Deaf residential school for a decade, and consequently, the place where I learned to embrace my Deaf self. The Pacific Northwest is where our only child was born and the habitat where we introduced him to the wonders of nature. We would go on misty “leaf walks” together and look at the “slippery, slimy slug bugs” making their hero’s journey to somewhere important. I have so many memories wrapped up in this one beloved spot on earth and I am thrilled to be back making more.
There are hidden sanctuaries and secret get-aways tucked in every nook and cranny of the Pacific Northwest. Even folks living here most their lives still enjoy the discovery of some new, hidden escape. The people here are liberal, the pace is slower, and they fight fiercely to protect their environment. There are many more reasons to love this area, and we still enjoy discovering its many gifts. When we need to “unplug,” we don’t have to go far to “recharge.” There are, forested greenbelts and streams somewhere down every block.
They say, “home is where the heart is.” I believe that is true. So… where does your heart make its home?