My Original Sense of Place

My hometown, Seekonk, Massachusetts, is where I spent this past thanksgiving. My home is a relatively rural area, with woods just behind my house, and a nature reserve only a short walk away. These natural areas had a massive impact on me throughout my childhood. I spent countless days in these woods with my friends or brothers building forts, drawing maps, and exploring. It had a massive impact on my appreciation for nature and grew my connection to this place. I can remember vividly certain parts of the woods that I used to go to, and often I think about those places when I want to relax or fall asleep. But it seems that these areas were only a vessel for memories and experiences to be made. Although I believe the true connection to this place comes from all these memories, feelings, and experiences I made in this place. It truly gives a sense of home and safety that I haven’t experienced anywhere else. One of these feelings that has become especially prevalent when I return home from college or from a vacation somewhere. As I reach my town, I begin to get a strong sense of comfort from the familiarity of the things that I see and recognize from years of living there. But this familiarity is deeper than simply recognizing a place, I would pass schools I went to, houses I have biked and driven past thousands of times, each with meanings and familiarity, different than anyone else’s. One thing that has changed is the people that live around this place. Some families moved away as their kids grew up and moved to other places, and as this happens, other new families move in to raise new kids in their place. But although I may know less of the people around me, my true connection to this place isn’t derived from its people. Of even less importance to me, is the political economic influence on my perception of sense of place. Although this undoubtedly impacts my feeling of sense of place, it is almost subconscious and is not what I think about when I think about my sense of place with my home. By going from living and going to school in this town every day to visiting it every couple of months has greatly impacted my sense of place. Whenever I go back, I feel as though I have lost my connection to this place to a certain extent. As I notice new things around town, no matter how subtle they may be, it gives me feel more distanced to this town that I grew up. Yet over any other place on Earth, I still share a closer bond to this area.