Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On Having A Sense of Place

One wants to have formed one’s value system not just in a place but partly because of it.  One wants to have engaged in romantic play in a landscape that is so essential that it is virtually a character in the drama.  One wants one’s religion to be centered not merely in a text, a doctrine, a creed, or a chapel, but in a locale, a sacred precinct, a circle of land and sky, a place where the wind bloweth where it listeth.  One wants one’s firstborn beloved child to have been born not merely in a hospital in Reno or on an air force base near Munich or Stuttgart, but in the place that matters most of all the places that mean something in one’s life.  One wants a true, deep, rooted home, a refuge to return to – to seek clarity and unconditional love.  One wants landscape in one’s soul, and one’s soul to dwell in a landscape somewhere.

Where would you go if you were diagnosed with cancer or the AIDS virus, if your whole world collapsed around you and only one point on the planet could help to heal? Where would you take the significant other who was hopelessly, boundlessly, endlessly, head-over-heels in love with you and she asked, take me to the place that means more to you than any other place in the cosmos?  There, if anywhere, you will find spirit of place.

from Message on the Wind: A Spiritual Odyssey on the Northern Plains
by Clay Straus Jenkinson

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