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50 Latitudes (USA) Feature

The 50 Latitudes Feature will showcase Latitudes from a resident of each US state in their own words to illustrate that despite age, sex, location, or occupation, every living being on the planet has a favorite Latitude.  A person's favorite Latitude is not restricted to their home state.

Entries in North Carolina (1)


North Carolina

When I heard the world ‘latitude’ my first thought was “if I’m going to write about ‘my latitude’ I’d better have a clear understanding about what ‘latitude’ means.  To the dictionary I went and found its standard meaning “an imaginary line around the Earth parallel to the equator.”  Another of its meanings I found more intriguing “scope for freedom of e.g. action or thought; freedom from restriction.”  It is this meaning I will address for I find it much more pertinent as to where I find my greatest solace on Earth.  My Latitude. 

My life has not afforded me the opportunities of physical travel, some due to financial and responsibility constraints and some due to my natural tendencies to not place much importance on such things.  I can imagine that certain places heighten tranquility and enlightenment, however I have come to believe that my Latitude must come from within.

These moments have been fleeting but have left lasting impressions of places my mind longs to return.  They are those moments when time stands still and I am surrounded by the awe of something greater than myself, I am warmly enveloped in safety, and my body is a lightness of illumination.  Allow me to expound by giving some scenarios in my life when this has happened.

It happened in my teens when I visited Aunt Po and Uncle Everett during summer break. They lived on what impressed me as a plantation in Grove City, Pennsylvania.  Far from wealthy, they took care of the grounds for the onsite owners and lived in a refurbished stable house.  Days weren’t measured in time, but rather sunrise to sunset and all the seemingly meaningless activities that could be experienced within that window of opportunity.  That lightness of being I’m speaking of would overtake me after my nightly bath in an old claw foot tub filled with spring water.  I’d don crisp line-dried pajamas and watch television with Aunt Po and Uncle Everett while a myriad of nightly sounds and smells entered through the country windows.  A simplicity existed that lured me back every summer; a simplicity I have rarely found since.

It happened in my 20’s while living in Hollywood, Florida and my life’s path was somewhat uncertain.  I was jogging to unwind after my day at work and the presence of a spirit jogging to my side overcame me.  During the stretches of time this presence jogged beside me my world stood suspended; the only sound was that of my feet hitting the pavement and my breath, a calm descended, and my heart was enveloped by love.  It reappeared several times almost to reassure me and then it disappeared.  I couldn’t hold onto it.

This happened in 30’s.  I had been married and because of a turn in events married people never think is going to happen to them but does, my husband and I had been separated for a period of time due to his illness.  He had just returned.  My 3 sons were asleep in the bedroom next to ours, the house was quiet, and my husband was asleep next to me.  I became aware of a quiet presence over our bed.  It was a welcoming presence that enveloped us in safety and I heard the words repeated ‘your husband is healed.’  The words lifted my heart’s burden and tears filled my eyes.  When I opened them I saw the image of an angel over our bed and it did not leave me.  Rather, it stayed until I become completely sure of its existence.  Our family was whole; that was my Latitude.

Today I find my Latitude in the practice of yoga and taking care of neonatal infants.  I haven’t perfected it by any means.  I miss yoga class because I convince myself that my life is just too busy to fit one more thing in although it is there when I practice meditation that I find it easiest to return to that place of enlightenment.  I complain about going to work even though after I’m immersed in the neonates a spiritual calm descends upon me I rarely feel elsewhere. 

I’ll quit rambling for you know the message is always more interesting to the writer than to the reader and leave you with the moral to my story.  Just like in the “Wizard of Oz” when Dorothy awakens in her own bed, surrounded by Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and the 3 farmhands,  I realize if my Latitude isn’t in my own backyard it is unlikely to be anywhere else...  including somewhere over the rainbow.