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  • Writer's pictureOld Bone

More On Sense of Place

Looking east to the Blue Ridge from the Shenandoah Valley at sunset, near my home, 7 August 2019.

I've written about the concepts surrounding what we know as "sense of place" many times. The older I get and the more insanity, unhinged incivility, etc., etc. I witness taking place, the more the concept takes on deep meaning and affection for me. The following quote from dovetails nicely with a post I'm working on about local history:

For many, a third meaning is the only one of consequence: that one can gain a sense of place only from being or becoming deeply involved with a place and by coming to know that one place and its inhabitants intimately. This is the meaning implicit in the claim that modern Americans must regain a sense of place to counteract their mobility and alienation from environment. The poet Gary Snyder refers to this when he claims that "there are many people on the planet now who are not 'inhabitants.' He teaches that spirit of place is accessed only through knowledge gained by direct experience in a specific locale; "Know the plants" has become almost his mantra. When you really know the plants, you are beginning to get a sense of the place, a sense of what is possible and a sense of how to live there in harmony with the site and setting. [Emphasis mine.]
Interwoven with the concept of place is the sense of home. We all have a sense of many places (in the first two meanings of the phrase), but a feeling of home is always associated with a sense of that specific place where home is thought to be. Home can be a dwelling, a town, even a state or a nation (in the sense of "homeland")—or all of these—but it always is a place . . .

By the way, I know the plants.

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