A Sense of Place

‘ The term sense of place has been used in many different ways.  It is a characteristic that some geographic places have and some do not, while to others it is a feeling or perception held by people (not by the place itself).  It is often used in relation to those characteristics that make a place special or unique, as well as to those that foster a sense of authentic human attachment and belonging.’    Wikipedia

I have felt a sense of place, on more than one occasion, and have not felt the same allegiance in geographical areas that I have spent some signifiant time in.

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale has afforded me a, significant, sense of place for over 40 years.  The opportunities that were extended to me and the challenges that I faced…along with the friendships that were formed…gave me a, solid, feeling of belonging to that organization and a love for the land that it occupies!

I have a feeling of place for our, country, home in Carbondale.  We have lived here for, almost, 18 years…and I never tire of it!

Strangely enough, I have felt a sense of place in two locations that we have visited, on vacations, in the United States…and three locations in Europe.

When we visited Paris, France…I felt like I was home!  I loved everything about the City of Lights!

photo of eiffel tower during foggy night

Photo by Huy Phan on Pexels.com

As I stood in the flat that we had rented for the three days that we were spending in Paris and looked out of the open window at the, brilliantly lit, Eiffel Tower…I felt like that I had enjoyed the same, beautiful, scene…many times before!

Whether it was shopping for our morning croissant or purchasing coffee or visiting the Muse de Orsay…I would have enjoyed being there for 3 months…rather than 3 days!

Oxford, England is another town that I had the, distinct, aura of…place.  As I sat in the university library I had the compelling feeling that I not only had been there before…but that I had studied at Oxford.

man in gray shirt walking on pathway

Photo by Ben Herbert on Pexels.com

Actually, throughout our, three week, excursion through the United Kingdom…I identified with the people of England and thought, how wonderful it would be to live there!

Edinburgh, Scotland was magical!  We were there during the arts fair called the Fringe, and the combination of the cool temperatures and, unlimited theatre…was intoxicating!

I met a, kind, gentleman on our first evening there…who made me feel so welcome…that all Edinburgh residents that I met…were my brothers and sisters.

We stayed in a flat that was located at the foot of the hill that the Edinburgh Castle is located on.  As we trekked up the hill to the city, in the morning, and returned, by foot, each evening…and some times twice per day, I began to feel a part of the cobblestones!

I began visiting Gatlinburg, Tennessee over 40 years ago.  I can think of no geographical location, in the U.S., that feels more like home to me…other than my Southern Illinois ranch!

We spent many Christmases in Gatlinburg, with our boys when they were young.

Mary Jane and I spent a recent anniversary in the eastern Tennessee mecca!

We recently had the most glorious visit, in Gatlinburg, with my brother Brock and his family…and we are planning another!

architecture building chapel church

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Maine, is a place that I felt an immediate bond with.  We made two visits, last decade, and we are planning another…soon!  The lush scenery and the majesty of the ocean…along with the lobster…and lobster….and lobster!

On our first visits we stayed in a Bed and Breakfast in Southwest Harbor.  The couple that ran it were lovely and what delicious breakfasts!

There is a relaxed and peaceful feeling associated with Maine…it is a place where you can forget your troubles and cares and get out of your ‘head’ of worry and frustration.

Simply living in a place for a long time…may not provide you with a, pleasant, sense of place.

When my mom and dad and I moved to Eldorado, Illinois…when I was 5 years old…I did not feel an identity with the southeastern Illinois town.

I had loved our home in Sauk Village, a Chicago suburb, and we had left my friends and the surroundings that I was comfortable with…and my parents were on the road to a divorce.

I, did not identify with Eldorado…until after I moved away when I graduated from high school.

Now I think of Eldorado…with pleasant memories and enjoy seeing my high school classmates postings on Facebook!

It is possible to live in a place and feel that you do not belong!

It is possible to not live in a place and feel that you have lived there…

Could it be…that you have been mis-placed?

 

2 responses

  1. Glad you felt at home in Paris. Despite living there for several months I never got that sense of place (although I do feel now on occasion when visiting.) But I definitely got it in Edinburgh. Great city!

    1. I think of Edinburgh, and Paris, weekly! In Paris, we encountered many, welcoming, Parisians. 🌞

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