Monday, 7 May 2012

A Sense of Place

“Favorite Scarf Ever” pattern by Lisa Bruce
I finished knitting a scarf from my handspun optim yarn. I started knitting the scarf last winter, but it went into hibernation when warm weather arrived. It's now completed, washed and blocked and waiting for use, just in time for the coming winter. I love working at handcrafts at home.

My daughter has been ruminating over her current essay assignment and this has caused me to reflect on the implications of Place as a part of Identity. I realise that one of my motivations for writing Yakkajam and posting photos is to offer a sense of what it is like to live in this spot, in remote, rural Far North Queensland, that is, to provide glimpses of our Place - the flora, fauna, the seasons and our human activities.

My ancestors and J's ancestors migrated from Europe to the New World - the east coast of the United States - and then took generations to gradually move west across the United States. We have continued that restless western movement – across the Pacific to the east coast of Australia. What happened to our sense of Place? Perhaps, as eventual roamers, we carry our sense of Place in our hearts. The place where each of us was born, the places where we grew up, fell in love, worked and had our children – those places and the people in our lives helped shape us as have the stories we've learned about our ancestors. Yet I feel very protective of and connected to the Place now around me.

The times have influence as well. The Golden Gate Bridge across the San Francisco Bay remains a magical Place in my heart. In 1937 my Grandmother and Aunt walked across the Golden Gate Bridge when it opened for the first time. In 1987, on the 50th anniversary of the opening, my husband and I walked our bicycles across Golden Gate Bridge only to get stuck in the middle of the bridge in a shoulder-to-shoulder pedestrian jam that lasted an hour or so and caused the bridge to sag. If you look at the first two photos to which I've linked, you'll get an impression of the vast difference between those two times, at the same Place.

Rachael Carson's book Silent Spring was published in 1962 and environmental awareness began to grow. For increasing numbers of individuals, the boundaries of one's sense of Place began to expand to include global concerns - oceans, rivers, underground aquifers, forests and plains, mountains, volcanos, the atmosphere. I worry when dead fish are discovered in the river nearby after heavy rainfall caused mining spillage into the nearby creek which flows into our river. I worry about polar bears.

Is the Global Village becoming our Place?

post by M in JaM
photo by J in JaM

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