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  • Writer's pictureEric Grimm

Sense of Place

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

Pikes Peak and Glen Eyrie
The Garden of the Gods and Glen Eyrie nestle under America's mountain, Pikes Peak, creating the sense of a sacred place.

A “sense of place” means you find some kind of personal validation and belonging by being there. The physical space helps define you.

Awareness of place is often stirred up by past perceptions and emotions, what psychologists call a primal landscape constructed by past experiences and associations.

How you feel and what you do in a place makes a place the place. Place tugs on your heart in quiet memory shadows, the ones that call up laughter from family gatherings or the adrenaline rush from your first roller coaster ride at the Long Beach Pike. Some places leave a different mark.

Did you tattoo your area code on your forehead? Territories and boundaries define who you are. Your status is a ZIP code or a street sign. A neighborhood section secures your current state of validation – where springy, loose chain link fences filter wind-blown debris of weather-stained litter and discarded plastic. Nobody paid you to clean up so you don't. You were dumped off as a child there and that's where you stayed, a primal landscape of normalcy that forever branded you as local.

The first Los Angeles freeway took my childhood home and I’ve been defined by freeways ever since. Distance is marked in time not miles.

The past 25 years or so, freeways faded from my place consciousness because I could travel from one end of my new hometown to the other in less than 30 minutes regardless of the time of day. Place became the power of towering Pikes Peak defining Colorado Springs. I couldn't leave even when I tried. It kept calling me back. My place.

Our children have left, though. And we miss them. We’re leaving this beautiful place for a while to see them, but as a sweet goodbye our last two months were in Glen Eyrie, indeed a special place.

A divine presence glows here. Many sense it when they pass the stone entry gate. A true primal landscape with sheer rock cliffs revealing God’s handiwork through the ages. Hidden from freeways, it’s cloaked in peace and quiet reflection. Deer, Rocky Mountain big horn sheep, wild turkeys, and bear wander through here. Migrating geese and other winged friends come in spring to visit on the sprawling greens and craggy peaks encircling the canyon.

Glen Eyrie Castle
Picturesque Glen Eyrie castle stands in an early spring snow storm.

Home to The Navigators, the discipleship ministry's founder Dawson Trotman and his wife’s final resting place is on an overlook. The site is marked by a scripture that says there’s no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend. Trotman died while saving a child from drowning. The story behind that incident helps color the emerald grace so present here. Late evangelist Billy Graham led Trotman’s memorial service.

An old English-style castle graces the Glen, built by Civil War general and founder of Colorado Springs, Jackson Palmer. High teas and colorful celebrations in period garb enchant the old stone walls and gathering halls—a place in time attracting people from around the globe.

It was a perfect launching place for our new spiritual adventure as we travel around the U.S. seeing more of God’s bounty and finding our new story.

Now our place is wherever we are at the moment.

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