When I think of how a space gets turned into a place, I think mainly of emotions. Any location can be turned into a space by the feelings one gets when they inhabit it. If the spot is important and real to a person, it becomes a place. When I think of the important places in my life, my mind always wanders to a boat dock on the Lake of the Ozarks in a little cove called McCubbins Point. Although to other people this is just a functional boat dock to fish off of or to launch a boat from, to me it has become a place.
McCubbin's Point is located about twenty-five minutes down a curvy lake road. Unless one lives around the lake, one would not ever know this cove existed. One of the reasons this cove has turned into a place for me, is the trip I have to take on this road to get there. I remember as a little girl my mother would take my sister and I to the lake every Saturday. We would each get to pick out a soda and a bag of chips. Looking out the window, I would be able to see glimpses of the lake in between the spaces of trees. As the radio blared inside the car, and the wind blew through the open windows and would tangle my hair. With our mother being unable to hear us, my sister and I would share secrets in the backseat. On these trips my sister and I slowly changed from enemies over toys to best friends and confidantes.
The dock itself is a simple wooden dock and extends about six feet over the water, just far enough from the bank to be able to safely jump off of into the cool greenish blue water below. When sitting on the dock, one is surrouned by water with picnic areas and large oak trees in the background with water in the front. When the sun is just starting to go down, the light reflects off of each current and makes the surface seem to sparkle. Across the water front, is the shore, decorated with bluffs covered in massive oak and maple trees. While sitting on the dock, one is facing the western direction, so that when the sun finally goes down, one is able to see the most beautiful sunsets.
This small cove is definitely a beautiful landscape. However, the memories I have made there make it a place to me. Everyone uses the cove and the dock for recreation. Families camp out and enjoy picnics. My best friends and I would camp out during the summer, sometimes for a week at a time. On these trips, we were able to taste freedom with the safety of our parents being right down the road. Small children make sand castles (out of dirt, we don't have sand) and play frisbee. During the early morning, older men fish and this is where my father taught me how to fish, how to bait a hook, and how to be quiet, to be still, and to listen. My father and I still have an amazing bond, and I accredit these early mornings on the dock for that.
After the sun goes down, the cove is supposed to be closed. However, this is when the teenagers come out to party or a couple will come out to get some alone time. After the sun went down completely, and I was older, my sister and I would sneak out of our house and go to the dock. We would lay down on dock with blankets and look at the stars. We would talk about what we wanted out of life and what made us frightened. We would always keep a close eye on the time so that we could sneak back in before our parents realized we were gone. After I started college, and met a boy, I brought him to the dock and he would read, and I would write. We would have picnis and we got to know each other even better.
The way I know that McCubbin's Point has become a place for me is how it affects me when I go home and visit. Sitting on the dock, with my feet in the cool water, I feel as if I am truly home. It suddenly doesn't matter if my parents have turned my old bedroom to a craft room or that my old high school is now housing kindergarteners. Even if my hometown feels somewhat alien, McCubbin's Point has not changed at all. When life gets incredibly hard, I know that I can drive to my dock, sit down, put my feet in the water and feel comforted. Sitting on the dock, I remember where I came from and who I am. I am able to gain peace, and look around me and see beauty. I am able to remember the lessons I have learned at the cove. I remember to sit still, be quiet, and I remember who and what is important to me. This simple wooden dock in a hidden cove is a safe haven for me and with all the things it reminds me of, it has become my place.