The Town without a Place

5 04 2011
Cul-de-sacs: Atlanta Image copyleft: Image tak...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve noticed something disturbing lately.

The people in my town live nowhere.

Ice cream trucks run in the cold of early March. People wear shorts and forgo jackets after the first warm day, despite the weather turning chill again. Gardens are mostly absent; a lawn statue here, a wagon wheel there seem to suffice. Christmas decor remains until spring, and I think I know why.

You see, my town is not really a town. It is a development that crawled in one long line, connecting the city to the historic town at its end, with townhouses and cul-de-sacs snaking away into the rural area on either side. As a result of its utilitarian birth, its residents seem to have no identity, no culture, and certainly no connection to the place they live. They could be living anywhere, and so I say they live nowhere at all.

Cultivating a sense of place is vital to protecting the nature we say we appreciate. Right now I gain such joy each day from the incremental unveiling of nature – a new tree blooming there, more grass cropping up here. The way most of my neighbors walk, heads down, or drive distracted, I doubt many see these fascinating changes. This may be the one of many unfortunate reasons that invasive species are left to shove out native, that we just set a heat record for early April, and that more people than ever call themselves environmentalists but lack a true connection to Earth.

Do you live in a town without a place? Don’t let it get you down; just noticing where you are can combat this zombie nation.

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