There was a Place

I regret the way unique place has been gradually nudged out of our lives. A place used to have rickety wood porches, trees to swing tires in, toothless guides that gave precise directions, kudzu cathedrals, barefoot valedictorians who threw paper routes, and lakeside watermelon feasts whose aftermath drew a squall of fat flies. A place was a portal, a way to see beyond the surface. First came that homogeneous patina of neon, glass, steel and cardboard, any house, any town, a thousand houses all alike. The subdivision. You can already see it happening in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” 1945. Second, the interstate, an artery through which the infection passed and spread, aided by the chain fast foods. Third and probably not the last, the digital revolution. These days walk down the street and half the folks you meet are glued to their phone. They  don’t even look at the place they’re in, or notice that the oak looks a little dried out or the Stop sign acquired fresh gun shot holes over the weekend. Nostalgia? But isn’t a smidgen healthy?



2 thoughts on “There was a Place

  1. I so agree. Sad passing of some beautiful experiences and life contexts. We were so graced with all of this.

    1. Martha, thank you for your thoughtful response. I’m rambling and scrambling to get my head around this. It’s a theme Wendell Berry touches on and Thoreau and others. But for us southerners the uniqueness of place has a special resonance.

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