Saturday, December 23, 2006
The Seduction of Place
Sometimes while reading John B , I remember the things that make me happy. That is what kindred spirits do. I was reading his post about his stretch of river and it made me think about the places that I love and why I love them. I also got a pang of guilt, thinking about how I have neglected the Gazetteer.
I fell in love with a boy once, when we were walking down his nondescript cul-de-sac, a block of suburbia that could have been anywhere in the developed world, and he wondered aloud how he had often tried to figure out the essential difference between Washburn (the street he spent his entire childhood on) and Button, a nearly identical street, one block over. What made Washburn so Washburnish? The way he said "Washburnish" made it seem epic, like it was an entire universe unto itself. As if one could spend a lifetime studying the habits, the literature, the history, the wildlife and people of Washburn. At that moment, I realized I was not alone in my private fascination with place.
And the boy? It didn't last, but I suppose he's all grown up, and finding reasons to love new places.