Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Finding our place in the Universe

photo of fungus attached to oak tree
© harrington
Hi! Thanks for stopping. Today's topic is attachment to place. There's a whole series of meetings in the Twin Cities this week examining and exploring the questions of aesthetics, social offerings and openness. There's a multiyear wide-ranging study underway on urbanism and the soul of community.  I was really happy to see the following quote from the lead consultant: "I've been to places where people clearly say, 'This is what we need to hold sacred about our place—these are the values, the characteristics, the narrative, the convenant with place that we want to hold sacred as we go down the path of growth.'" I'd be even more happy if more and more people, everyone, as a matter of fact, said that about the place they lived. As I understand attachment, it necessitates some kind of rooting or holdfast. Could it be that the development of attachment to place is a sign that our culture is beginning to mature? That we don't always feel compelled to take the short term outlook, trash somewhere and then figure out where to move on to? Many birds are migratory, but most still require certain habitat characteristics to thrive. Rivers can't thrive cleanly without mussels. Mussels can't filter feed if they're buried under silt that belongs on and would benefit farm fields. It's just possible John Muir was correct when he noted "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." To be hitched to anything else in the Universe would seem to me to require some kind of roots or holdfast. I think, I hope, we can consider this a good thing. New and improved can be better if it's authentic, organic, local.  If we learn to care for the places that we live, we might be able to help create a new and improved Universe year after year after year. That sounds like a sustainable approach to me. How about you? Thanks for listening. Rants, raves and reflections served daily here in My Minnesota.