Tuesday, September 9, 2008

On Knowing a Place

"It's amazing how many things you see when you walk," Aldo told me last weekend when he came back from taking our dog out on a new set of roads. "I've been down that strip of road countless times in the car, but didn't see half the things I saw today." He went on to tell me that he'd met several neighbors he'd never spoken to before . . . noticed houses he'd never seen from the car . . . now knows that the big hunting dog's name is "Patrick" and that the guy who walks the Jack Russell is a Civil Engineer.

I think I have such a strong connection with the countryside and neighborhood surrounding our home in Loudoun County because I'm always out walking or riding. Every time I go out, I catch up on what's going on in the neighborhood. Who got a new horse, and who has a horse with an abscess. What neighbor is having a party next week and what neighbor is not feeling well. Who is doing renovations on their house and who is struggling to meet their mortgage payments.

A few weekends ago, we ran into a friend out walking his dogs and he told us sadly that Dennis, a neighbor who lived at the end of the road and always exchanged pleasantries with us, had been killed in a motorcycle accident the week before. We were stunned and saddened.

If we didn't walk, we wouldn't know these things and the neighborhood would not have nearly the depth and meaning that it has to us now. God is in the details, and when we move along at speed with glass separating us from the wind, the sky, and our neighbors, we never come to really know much of anything and, ultimately, miss the intimacy and connection that makes a place, PLACE. (Marilyn Finnemore)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice blog.....agree with much of the narrative as well. I remember living in DC for the first time, near Dupont Circle and had the same revelation of walking the streets I had driven down countless times before and seeing MUCH MUCH more......flowering vines on fences, hidden gardens off of narrow passageways, tiny local stores (cobbler and key maker); the regiment, rhythm, and pace of the day marked by when neighbors walked their dogs, carried their dry cleaning home, and even the morning clammer of city trash pickup.....you could set your watch to these things.......a discovery of that sense of place and community.