I spent my Thanksgiving break in the town of Seekonk Massachusetts, We’re one of my roommates is from. This is my first time in Seekonk so establishing a sense of place was my first task.
Massachusetts as a whole state is much older than where I’m from, all the time I spent there I was thinking about the historical implications, and events that have happened All over the place.
Ecologically Massachusetts is also very different from Northern California. The trees I saw when we went on walks around here look nothing like the tall redwoods I’m used to, And the animals that venture out into the cold we’re relatively unfamiliar to me.
Seekonk’s a small suburban town. my roommate lives at the end of a cute little cul-de-sac where the houses have lights in every window to celebrate the upcoming holiday season.
Massachusetts is very impacted by historical human actions. The roadways are now paved but were once built for animal-based transportation. So the towns and roads are built in older, confusing patterns.
In my own town, The built environment doesn’t really affect my sense of place, because nature is more present in my life. I find my strongest sense of place in my hometown when I am at the beach, sitting on the bluffs.
My sense of place at home has definitely changed over the years. When I was younger my sense of place was very based on my parents’ social circles, and events that would take place in the town square. I felt most at home at the Sunday morning farmers market, running around and talking to all of my family friends.
Now when I’m home I find myself much less drawn to the social circle of my parents, and less drawn to the infrastructure of my town. I feel much more connected to the natural areas around me. And I’m sure that once I return after a semester establishing a strong sense of place in Burlington based on identification and understanding of my local ecosystems my sense of place at home will be even more focused on the natural world and getting to know it.
I think both my old strong sense of place among elders and the community as well as my new ground connection to the natural world really inform who I am. I am a person who loves and places great value on the community while understanding the true beauty and importance of temporarily disconnecting with others in order to connect more fully with the natural world around you.
Having a strong sense somewhere is definitely good for you. I know that in times of stress or when I am feeling overwhelmed I can but myself in situations that I have a strong connection to as a way to reground myself. To soothe my mind I can take the time to sit on the fountain in the middle of our downtown square and watch everyone enjoy the farmers market or I can drive out to the coast and watch the rogue waves hit the shore. And while both of these experiences are quite different, they both have a strong sense of place for me and I can use them to rebalance myself and my life. Taking a step back and feeling safe and connected to a place for a moment is a form of self-care.