A Love that Reminds You of Nothing

Carvell Wallace
4 min readFeb 1, 2022

Every day I learn something new about love. For example, just today while trudging in the sand along the Sonoma Coast I had an insight that I decided to write about. But then I forgot it.

Moments later I lay on a blanket on the rocks because being on the ground was the only way to protect yourself from the Northern California coastal winds which are sharp and relentless. They cut not only through you, but through the illusion you hold that you matter on a cellular level. In a very real sense, you do not.

See, when you are in a building you can make continual and minor adjustments to support your comfort. You raise or lower the heat; you grab a hoodie or open a window. You make yourself a cup of tea or pour yourself a cold drink with ice cubes. In some core sense the fact that you are in an environment in which you can do this helps create a feeling that your needs matter, even the small ones. And that they matter to the world around you. Because the world around you supports your comfort.

On the coast I found words for something that I had been feeling ever since I first began to spend significant time in what, for lack of a more realistic word, we call nature. I did not grow up as an outdoorsman. My first extended outdoor experiences came when I was in my early twenties and working in youth nonprofit. I figured out that more jobs would be open to me if I started pursuing outdoor education training and various certifications in backpacking, wilderness first aid, survival. With this in mind, I signed up for a ten-day training mission in the Yosemite backcountry with a collection of POC educators and nonprofit types.

it’s all fun and games until the sun sets

Over these days I went through the entire gamut of experiences: fear, frustration, boredom, bone-level exhaustion, joy, camaraderie, the discovery that a Ziplock bag full of raisins, peanuts, and M&M’s can somehow be one of the best meals you’ve ever eaten, absolute reverence at the absurd grandiosity of the sky, the mountains that lay before us, the way the fog could quietly and stealthily envelop an entire word, the subtle realization — maybe not fully understood until years later — that every single thing, every rock, every leaf, every bug, every creek, every manzanita bush and Douglas fir, had a spirit, a soul, a will, a history, cells and molecules, atoms that were moving…

Carvell Wallace

This is where I experiment. This is where I learn to write.