Understanding Place

I know that the above photo is blurry! I unfortunately wasn’t able to get the original photo, as it was taken from many phones ago and from years ago as well! I do apologize! However, on the left is a photo of my parents summer house, and on the right is the view from the back porch looking out. I promise that these are real photos and NOT from Google! 

My parents built the house before I was born, and it’s where I spent all of my summers from birth till after college. The community in the area, and my family are very close and together have a very tight support net of people, and have fought and won many battles with fracking and solar giants! It’s within the community around my house where I met my best friend, and rode horses growing up. The house is where I took past boyfriends to meet my parents for the first time. It’s where a lot of important moments happened for me growing up. Like my first kiss. When my parents do eventually pass, I will inherit the house, and land. For that knowledge alone, I consider myself to be unconditionally grateful, and honored! There is so much history with the house, the land, the community, and surrounding community places that I have grown up with, that have really helped me to become my own person over the years, and connect more with the land around me. One day, I hope to have a family of my own in the house so that I can give my closest the opportunity to have what I had. 

For me, I didn’t really connect with Terry’s reading in relationship to what I consider the place that informs people of who I am, and what carries my history; until the end. Most of the reading carried on a story, but also brought in very specific details about moments in time that I just didn’t find myself connecting with. At the end however, I did like what she had to say about particular landscapes that we are apart of. She stated, “Each of us belongs to a particular landscape, one that informs who we are, a place that carries our history, our dreams, hold us to a moral line of behavior that transcends thought. And in each of these paces, home work is required, a participation in public life to make certain all is not destroyed under the banner of progress, expediency, or ignorance, We cannot do it alone. This is the hope if a bedrock democracy, standing our ground in the places we love, together” (Williams, 19). For me, this summary of what the end result must be, if we are to preserve the land around us and keep it sacred is to rely on the ones that count on us in return. I don’t think that my personal landscape functions as anything to be labeled as. It is to be taken in by the body, and mind. To be admired and loved. It is not meant to be compared to or sought after. 

After reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Knowing our place, I did connect to some of the things that she said. For example, when she stated that, “In the way of so-called worldly things, I can’t seem to muster a desire for kitchen gadgets or cable TV or to drive anything flashier than a dirt-colored sedan that is older than the combined ages of my children. My tastes are much more extreme: I want wood-thrush poetry. I want mountains” (Kingslover, 1). The reason that I really liked this section of her essay is because I consider myself to be a minimalist. She doesn’t come right out and say this, but you can gather that she isn’t buying into the latests trends and gadgets that are (in the background, in production) harming the earth more and more as more and more come out. As soon as I saw the very popular Netflix documentary titled Minimalism (trailer below), I started to really appreciate what I had rather than what I thought I wanted that was going to fulfill my quick fixes. I started to really appreciate spaces around me more, and once I really started to declutter the things around me is when I started to realize that at the end of the day, what we have is ourselves and the earth that we live on, so we might as well take care of ourselves in the process so that we can take care of the earth in return. 

Below is a trailer of the documentary, not the whole thing.

Even when I’ve seen the trailer more times than I can count I still get teary haha. It just hits on point after point after point. At least in my opinion. So yes, I do agree with her that we need the wilderness to remind us that life is bigger than we will ever be, and that animals and the earth need to come first if we want to continue taking advantage of what we have now, and what we want in the future to come. 

The city dweller question is hard. Since I don’t know a lot about what their job entails. But if I had to take a guess, I would say that if I was contracted to work, it wouldn’t be to serve the earth, but more for the people in the community who need water and other resources, and to maneuver myself though the earth in order to do my job the right way(through underground tunnels to fix piping, and other man made housing demands). My guess is that I wouldn’t get to connect with the earth in the ways that I would like, or my history. 

Work Cited 

Williams, Terry. “Home Work.” Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert, Random House Publishing, 2002, pp. 3–19.

Kingsolver, Barbara. “Knowing Our Place.” High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never, 1997, pp. 1–2. Faber and Faber.

One Reply to “Understanding Place”

  1. Hi Alina! First and foremost, I really enjoyed reading your blog, so thank you! You brought up some great points that really resonated with me. I loved how you brought up minimalism. Minimialism is something that I have been exploring as well because unfortunately I used to be on the opposite side of the spectrum. Growing up my parents were always keeping up with Joneses so I grew up with that mentality too and spent the better part of my twenties with that same idea and it is truly so exhausting. Once I hit my late twenties and especially last year since turning 30 I began to take on a more minimalistic approach to life. For example, I used to want to save to get a brand new vehicle and instead we invested in a newer used car and decided to save to install solar panels. Which is overall a better investment and better for the environment. I think the idea of minimalism will help us connect better to the earth and individual histories because less focus will be on the next new and improved gadget. I think that is what Kingsolver was getting at when she stated that she is not interested in cable tv and new cars. Not focusing on trends and gadgets and cars etc will enable us to truly see that this place we call home is truly the most important thing. We can find ourselves so easily in a comparison trap when we focus on materialistic things and ultimately miss what life, and ultimately nature, is about.

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