For me, my sense of place in my hometown is very strong. I grew up in a tight knit community where everyone knows everybody and everything about them. Our community is centered around a lake that, during the summers, opens up and all the local kids play there. When you grow up, you become a lifeguard or a babysitter and summers are just as fun. This place where we could all come together and bond really forged my attachment to the place and people.
The people that live in my neighborhood are a very important part of why I have such a strong sense of place there. I have several close friends of 15 years or more who live a five minute walk away from my house, and the relationships we have with my surrounding neighbors is a big part of my childhood. These people who live around me help make my house and my neighborhood feel like home. The memories I have there with my friends and family are a very important part of my relationship with the place, because we all make, and share, that feeling of home.
Additionally, the natural landscape plays a huge role in my sense of place. The community was developed in the early 1930s around the lake. Fayson Lakes was initially a place where people would live for the summer, but over time people decided to stay year round! Whether this had to do with the weather – we have a nice balance of all four seasons – the schools, or the sense of community, I’m not sure, but I can say that it was a wonderful place to grow up.
The lake has beautiful trails all around it – most of us are so familiar with them we could walk them with our eyes closed. During the winter when the lakes freeze over, everyone puts on their skates to play hockey, or just try to stay upright. We bring thermoses of hot chocolate, and build snowmen in the middle of the lake. In the fall, all the leaves change and the woods are perfect for hiking. But even better, during the summer the beach is always the place to go. The days are filled with swimming, tanning, and hanging out. Nights are warm enough to sit on the dam and look at the stars, play volleyball on the beach, or go for a late night swim. There is also a swim team, the Gators, that all the beach kids join over the summer, and it really brings everyone closer together.
This place, and all of the people there, are what define my sense of place. This is my home and I know that it always will be. Sense of place has been very important to think about during the transition from high school to college, and I’m thankful that I have found a home at UVM to rival the one from my hometown.