The phrase "This is God's Country" is a colloquial expression, and it doesn't have a specific origin or a single person who first coined it. Instead, it's the type of phrase that likely evolved organically over time and is used by individuals to express their deep appreciation or admiration for a particular place, often emphasizing its beauty, serenity, or special qualities.
The meaning can vary depending on the context and the person using the phrase, but it generally suggests that the person feels a deep connection to the beauty, serenity, or special qualities of the place they are referring to.
The term "God's Country" is often associated with natural landscapes, scenic areas, or places that evoke a sense of wonder, enchantment and spirituality. For some, it may simply express a sense of reverence for the wonders of nature or the sense of peace and tranquility they find in a specific locale.
In my early 20s, I was given an incredible opportunity to work in Alaska intermittently each summer from 1993 - 2003. I often heard visitors and locals refer to Alaska as "God's Country" and it's no surprise to anyone why this is often said about this beautiful state.
The vistas are stunning!
Alaska is often referred to as "God's Country" due to its breathtaking natural beauty, pristine wilderness, and rugged landscapes. The state is home to stunning national parks, towering mountain ranges, glaciers, and diverse ecosystems. The sense of untouched and unspoiled nature often evokes a feeling of awe and reverence.
Alaska boasts some of the most dramatic and awe-inspiring scenery on the planet. Majestic mountains, fjords, and coastal landscapes create a visually stunning backdrop. The sheer scale and grandeur of Alaska's natural features contribute to the perception of a place of divine beauty. The state is rich in wildlife, with abundant populations of bears, moose, eagles, and other animals. The coexistence of diverse species in their natural habitats adds to the sense of a harmonious and carefully designed environment. The aurora borealis, or northern lights, are a spectacular natural phenomenon visible in certain parts of Alaska. The dancing lights in the night sky add a mystical quality to the landscape and can contribute to this "God's Country" perception because the viewing the aurora borealis from this place seems other-worldly and makes it a spiritually significant place on Earth for many people.
The island of Santorini in Greece is famous for its white-washed buildings perched on cliffs overlooking the various azure and turquoise tones of the Aegean Sea. The combination of stunning architecture and natural beauty may lead people to describe it as a place of divine or heavenly beauty.
The Grand Canyon in Arizona is known for the size and scope of its massive landscapes. Many visitors and locals alike describe it as breathtaking, and the term "God's Country" may be used to convey the awe-inspiring natural wonders of this vast canyon.
It's important to note that the perception of Alaska, Greece or any place, as "God's Country" is subjective and may vary among individuals because different people may attribute different meanings to the phrase based on their cultural, religious, or personal perspectives.
Closer to home . . .
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Recently, I heard someone refer to Eureka Springs as "God's Country" and when I asked them t0 explain further, I was expecting statements like:
"Eureka Springs is surrounded by lush forests and offers stunning views of the Ozarks. The natural beauty of the area, including nearby lakes and rivers, contributes to the perception of it as a place touched by the divine."
"The town is known for its preserved Victorian architecture and historic buildings. The charming and unique structures, such as the Thorncrown Chapel, can evoke a sense of awe and wonder."
"Eureka Springs has a reputation as a spiritual and healing destination because the waters here are said to have healed people many years ago. So moved by this place, Native Americans deemed the land here to be sacred and today, the town is home to several spas, wellness centers, and holistic retreats so some people feel that similar connection to nature and spirituality."
While all these statements about Eureka Springs are true and contribute to the perspective that this is, in fact, "God's Country," what I received was an explanation related to their perspective on the human impact on this place and how people uniquely c0-existing here is what makes this place "God's Country."
Eurekans make Eureka "God's Country."
One of the things you will hear most around town, is that people fall in love with Eureka because people also fall in love with the beautiful people of Eureka. The Eurekans!
Yes, while we tend to attract a diverse array of visitors, the local population is small but mighty. This diverse community is truly one of a kind and plays a big part in the overall culture of this neck of the woods. The special sauce in our small town utopia is the people.
While the phrase "God's Country" is often used subjectively to describe a place that is perceived as exceptionally beautiful, pristine, or awe-inspiring, I have to admit, I tend to agree with this person that it is our human impact as well that plays a big part in the aesthetics, environmental harmony, and overall appeal -- and for this reason, many people may refer to Eureka Springs as "God's Country" . . . and rightly so.
I mean, think about it for a moment. When we exhibit The Golden Rule with everyone regardless of who they are, what they think/believe, who they love, how they choose to worship, the decisions they make and the way they choose to live, we exhibit behavior that is likened to God. God is love and so it does make sense that a loving place like Eureka Springs could and should be referred to as "God's Country."
There are not many places in the world where so much diversity comes together in harmony in one place. Eureka's culture is radically inclusive, artistic, diverse, creative and entrepreneurial.
A culture is simply the end result of what happens when human beings interact with one another in every moment, every day. What they say, do, think, or feel. How they act. How they present themselves. Carry themselves. Their attitudes. Demeanor. Kindness. Love. Empathy.
On the flip side, culture is also developed as a result of apathy. What people don't say, do, think or feel. The action they don't take. The choice not to participate. Refrain from volunteering. In many places, this is something that can also impact the culture of the place.
As Eurekans, it is our behaviors, words, actions, and personal styles that get woven into the culture quilt of Eureka Springs, and we feel that tug to participate. Get involved. Help a friend move. Give a hand at church. Cook a welcome-to-the-neighborhood pie for our new neighbor. Mentor a teen.
In short, Eureka Springs is a true community where we know our neighbors and their loved ones and where we welcome everyone and make friends with everyone.
We all have a story.
Someone's story doesn't define them, nor should it. Each new day brings new opportunities to embrace the NOW and make new memories from this day forward. Write a different chapter in your story. Experience a new adventure. Participate.
Chapter after chapter, the lovely story of Eureka Springs continues to be written. This vibrant artistic community, the creative atmosphere and the expression of beauty through art, music and nature plays a big role toward the perception of our town as a special, almost divine, place.
In addition, the small-town atmosphere and the friendliness of our community evokes a sense of peace and tranquility, leading people to associate the town with a higher, spiritual presence. A presence that gets ahold of you and tugs at you. Lures you.
This is God's Country, my friends, and we all continue to make it so. A very special thank you to Larry, the visitor from Oklahoma, that recently opened my mind up to this perspective which further inspired me to write this blog-post about the very place I love to call home - my Eureka Springs, Arkansas.❤️