- Mackinac Island, Michigan. I worked at a state park, ran the trails for hours, had the most romantic date ever of my life (sorry, J!) and watched a hundred sunsets from the fort walls.
- The swamp, aka the Fakahatchee Strand, a river moving slowly to the sea. I fought fires here, watching them tear across the sawgrass like a living thing. The smoke columns created their own weather, unforgettable.
- The White Cloud Mountains, miles of steep limestone faces, hidden lakes nestled in cirques. I was a wilderness ranger here, the best job on the planet.
- Olympic National Park. Where else can you find rain forest, alpine meadows, and wild coast all crammed into a small peninsula?
- And of course, Southeast Alaska, the push and pull of desire and reluctance, the endless rain but the endless beauty?
A person is a patchwork of where they've been. Here are some sparkly places where I left pieces of my heart behind but also carried, invisible, under my skin.