The places that shape us, permeate our memories, and inform our passions are many and varied.  What does it mean to call a place home? What does it mean to connect with a place?  What makes a spot special? In the Teton Science Schools graduate program, we’ve reflected on the axiom “if one place is special, all places are special” when designing learning experiences that students can transfer home to their own special places. Each graduate student has also personally reflected on places with which we feel powerfully connected, following Orion Magazine’s prompt to write about “places where you live.” Here is a reflection from current grad Christina Aragon on a favorite part of British Columbia.

Christina Aragon: Face Mountain, British Columbia
Shadows of the past, present, future – monolithic landforms. A dynamic world – every footstep yields a new world. Further, deeper, higher. This is a place that fears no stagnancy.  Once again I stand here – amongst giants – in British Columbia – with my rock – my human, mi amor. A relationship built ever up as steady as the winds that caress the mountain peaks.
There is solace in the solitude, inspiration in unknown. There is a capacity to engage critical thought – in the blink of an eye, an unknown eternity. I seek those places where redundancy quivers and hides. Inhale. Exhale.  Own the consequences of my decisions. I have been to this junction, this fork in the mountains, enough to know my way. The map is constant, but every surface I stand on is eternally changing. A sea of white, each idiosyncratic snowflake longing for recognition. The glaciers are my highway – the agenda of today entangled above a matrix of ancient ice.
Dwarfed by the expanse, a wild without rules. Mountains fill the view as conifers carpet a hillside. At the edge, there is no clear line to distinguish where the sky ends and the peaks begin. A moment of immense gratitude – a wholeness. This is the place my heart calls home but my reason knows – I am only a visitor. Trepidation for the day there is too little ice to light this fire in my soul. We must make the choice to choose the free – to choose the wild.
For more reflections, follow this link to Orion Magazine’s “Place Where You Live” anthology. To read reflections from other current TSS graduate students, follow the links below:
Zoë Beattie: Ontonagon, MI
Jessie Black: Black Forest, CO 
Bella Furr: Tucson, AZ 
Clare Gunshenan: Kelly, WY 
Kelly Thompson: Yangtze River, China 
Emily Townsend: San Francisco, CA 
Callie Weinert: Missoula, MT
Kamille Winslow: Mascoma Lake, NH