Monday, December 5, 2022

MendoMoments: Longing for Her ‘Happy Place’, a Visitor Returns to Mendocino

A trio, a boardwalk, a happy place [Photo provided by Bryan Peterson]

Sometimes the world is a stranger. Every place, every face feels far away. Unknown.

Sometimes, you crave home. The known world. The world as it once was. The world as it should be. Everything in its right place.

Last week, Sebastopol resident Bryan Peterson’s daughter craved home. A place of comfort and joy and simplicity.

Peterson’s daughter told her dad it was time “to go back to my happy place, Mendocino.”

Peterson accompanied his daughter and friends to MacKerricher State Park. With the golden sun making its descent towards the horizon, Peterson captured a moment of time that somehow exudes that nostalgic sense of home.

The trio, bedecked in the long sleeves of the winter months, are walking along the headlands elevated by the path. Their arms are outstretched, as they test their balance, and walk along the boardwalk’s edge. Scattered clouds add complexity to the blue sky of a year’s end and the path disappears into the horizon.

The moment exudes wonder and innocence and a devil-may-care simplicity that exists in all of us but is too often shrouded with age and experience.

Now, shake off your age, your experience. Free of constraints, channeling that feeling of home, ask yourself, “Where is my happy place?”

As always, for your literary consideration, enjoy e.e. cummings’ poem “maggie and milly and molly and mae” which, like this MendoMoment, evokes childhood naïveté and the true depth of an instant:

maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

MendoMoments, is dedicated to showcasing the land, animals, and people that make up Mendocino County. All Mendocino County residents and visitors are invited to participate. Send photographs to including a description of what your photograph depicts, where it was taken, and any other important details.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced largely by the urban elite. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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