Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What If We Created Places to Stay?

I know few people, other than a handful of locals, family members, and high school friends, who have stayed in one Place all of their lives. It used to be common to do so, until automobiles gave us unlimited freedom to live anywhere, and most of us, with an American's passion for freedom, fled our hometowns to move off to distant places to "progress in the world."

Many of us have moved so much, in fact, that we approach all the places we live as a stop in the road. Even as we settle in, we think . . . when my child gets old enough for school, we'll move to the suburbs . . . when I get a better job, we'll move to that big house . . . when it starts getting too overrun with crime or traffic, we'll just move farther out . . . and when I retire, we'll head south. These thoughts of transience are manifested in the No Places we leave behind and, often, the emptiness we feel. But what if we approached the places we pass through with the thought: How do I help make this a Place I could live in for the rest of my life? (whether we eventually do so or not).

If we replaced thoughts of transience with those of permanence, I suspect we'd push for more town centers and fewer McDonald's, more sidewalks and parks and fewer four lanes, more walking paths, bike lanes, dog parks, and gathering places. I suspect we'd push for houses that were built to last, and that were close to schools, work, entertainment, and friends. I suspect that we'd take better care of our air, our water, and our land because we'd want them to be there for the rest of our lives and for the lives of those who follow us.
Photo courtesy of rebel shooter


8 comments:

dscweb said...

Thanks for your blog. For the last few months thoughts of the place my ancestors migrated to keep popping into my brain. The music, the landscape and the people keep calling me. So I googled "importance of place" and found you.

Marilyn Finnemore said...

Interesting way to find me:-). Like you, I think I carry ancestral memories in my genes and blood. I've been doing my family genealogy (since I'm writing a book for my family for Christmas) and have discovered amazing things, and so many reasons why I love what I love, believe what I believe, and am who I am.

livelittle said...

I love your post! Yes yes yes. I know many people who move every 2 years. from wasteland to wasteland

Marilyn Finnemore said...

Kimberly, love your live little blog: http://livelittle.wordpress.com/
I'm adding it to my blogroll.

Chrissy Padilla said...

Once again... great blog entry. Thanks for writing!

Sherrie Lord said...

For years I've dreamed of living downtown, of buying one of those narrow little properties with a shop of some sort on the first floor, which I'd continue to lease to the retailer, and space on the second floor that I could transform into a home with good bones, character, and tall windows that would let in lots of light. I would love the daytime activity, the shoppers and people busy going somewhere. At night, it would be a place of quiet and pretty lights.

What that has to do with "place" is the ages of the buildings; there's history there, architecture, and texture. I would find great satisfaction in doing what I could to preserve one of those fine old buildings, of making sure it had purpose and a future.

(sigh) Maybe I'll actually pull it off someday.

Thanks for a great blog, Marilyn. I love your heart.

Marilyn Finnemore said...

I think it's the ultimate dream about Place Sherrie. I have no doubt you'll make it happen someday.

muse said...

I love that your blog has a thematic focus of PLACE. For me, place is something I have created within myself, so that I may exist in any externality without feeling the emptiness that you refer to.