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    Good Landmarks, Good Feeling

    Feelings of comfort, ease, peace and contentedness are what we all seek, what we all ask for in one way or another as we make our wishes for the coming year. While we are granted these gifts through friendship, affection, and a place to call home, the larger place of home – our streets and neighborhoods – also affects our sense of self. Where we live, and how we feel about that place, warms or worries us, makes us proud or ashamed, grounded or loosed.

    Possessing a rich “sense of place” helps us gain a deeper, more satisfying sense of self. For we are embodied selves that always need somewhere to be. “Place identity answers the question — Who am I? — by countering — Where am I? or Where do I belong?” *

    One of the best ways to gain that warm sense of belonging that helps teach us and remind us of who we are is to feel grounded in neighborhood. And one of the best ways to feel grounded in neighborhood, to know where you come from and where you belong, is to have a valued local landmark that serves as an anchor, a pivot around which your world revolves.

    Orchards, fruit trees — those places that blossom every spring and yield fruit every summer, those places of gathering and harvesting, of seasonal parties and measuring time — can serve as such landmarks, in space and in our souls.

    This coming year, may you treasure your trees, share their bounty with us so we may share it with others, and work with us to plant more fruit trees wherever you can in your neighborhood.

    May the trees offer you blessings of “place,” of belonging, of peace.

    And may you have a happy, healthy New Year!


    * “A Place to Call Home: identification with dwelling, community, and region,” Lee Cuba and David M Hummon. The Sociological Quarterly 34:1, Spring 1993, p. 112

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