How places make people

How, exactly, do places make people? Each day between now and October 5th, I'll photograph a place that holds meaning for me and my family, and I'll write a brief story about how it has shaped who I am. As time allows, I'll also throw in some planning theory about the influence of place on human development and the power of place in the formation of our identity.

Day 42: The forest is a cathedral of calm, even with toddlers running about

Day 42: The forest is a cathedral of calm, even with toddlers running about

Today, I got off to an invigorating start by taking a hike with my friend Em and her son on a trail behind our house. We live adjacent to Boulder's open space, and the network of trails here offers great relief from daily stresses.

Colorado's evergreen forests are deeply ingrained in my being. I grew up hiking and camping all along the Front Range of the Rockies, and the sounds, smells and sights of these places refresh my soul. Little O is proving to be quite the hiker, too, delighting in all of the pine cones, wildflowers, rocks, leaves and sticks he finds along the way. I feel so grateful for being able to share this landscape with my son.

When we hike, we listen to the crunch of the gravel under my boots, sniff the pine sap and gaze at birds gliding over the trees. We stop and listen. We watch for new colors emerging through the seasons. We climb over rocks and share smiles with fellow hikers. The forest is a cathedral of calm, a place to breathe deeply and give thanks for all that is.

This place makes people appreciate nature, and I'm hoping it will infuse a love of forests in my son's soul, as it has my own.