Circumnavigating Lake Fanshawe
Finding a temple in the woods.
For some, Lake Fanshawe is just a pool of water that is too slow at the evaporation game, for others it is downstream from places where life moves at a slower pace (hi, St. Marys!). And for some, those occupying the surrounding day-use conservation area at any given moment, it can be a place for their children and dogs to pee while other people swim and fish. For me, well, Lake Fanshawe may just be my temple in the woods.
On Appreciating the Land which Surrounds Us
With travel limited, and everyone staying closer to home these days, we’ll need to think more and more about the importance of being connected to the regions which make up the places we call home. As lockdowns and quarantines begin to be lifted we’ll slowly be able to once again travel and explore—but not like we once were able to do.
The focus now will be on the hyper local and the regions we live within. Bike rides to-and-from our homes, day trips to places no more than an hour drive by car, and the re-discovery of everything that is directly in-front of us. As we once again become acquainted with everything near that we’ve become disconnected from over time—the land which surrounds us—it will become more important to recognize everything that is offered to us within a short reach.
My Hometown Sucks, Place, and Shared Sameness
Seems where we’re from matters more than we care to admit.
There is no right or wrong way to interpret a place. What is important though, is that we recognize our connections to and interpretation of the places we are from, and the locations where we live. It is important we identify the sameness we share with others in relation to place, and the differences in opinions we hold which spark necessary conversations. Only through dialogue can we improve our awareness of, and connection to, both the places we share and the relationships we have with one another.
A treatise on communities of identity, faith, and place.
For, Family, and Friends:
Who shape our identity,
Individual and collective;
For, Faith and Spirituality:
Both named and un-named,
Whose communal values
Draw us closer together;
And, for Place:
The lands that provide sustenance,
The hands which support,
And, the shared tables
Around which we gather.
Let us be grateful,
For we have community:
Faith, and Place;
And be thankful,
We can come together,
To share in community as one.
These words, which articulate the essence of what ties us all together, were recited at my wedding (or some version of them). Without knowing it, I crafted the basis for this poem years before the syllables would be uttered from my mouth during an annual solo trek to Circumnavigate Lake Fanshawe.
What is Place but a Social Construct?
Like time, place may simply be a social construct—not needing to be connected to geographic space, physical location, or physicality whatsoever.
Existing more in the abstract, through our relations with one another, place may only be connected to tangible environments when we choose to collectively assign the label of place to the spaces we share.
Then again, perhaps place is a social contract—an agreement between individuals and collectives on how they will relate to one another. How, as a community, individuals come together to collectively generate shared meaning from their experiences while occupying spaces together; spaces that may be traditional and physical as well as abstract and metaphorical.
Investigating The Importance of Place provided the opportunity to form the initial thoughts on place; they have yet to be fully explored but serve as a foundation for ongoing contemplation on, and the interpretation of, ideas surrounding what constitute place.
As these thoughts continue to expand in words, and focus in scope, I will add to and build upon what is noted above.
Place as a Verb
Perhaps we talk about place, and placemaking, in a backwards sort of way.
As an unfinished though just stating to form, I am curious of how our dialog about space, place, placemaking and us as people has developed over time. Does the way in which we speak about the spaces we occupy, and our creation of place through relationships, experiences and the generation of meaning, influence our abilities to shape and change our sense of place to benefit us, our communities and the broader society?
Don’t Worry. [this city] is awesome.
Contemplations on appreciating the places where we are.
What can we do, as everyday citizens, to re-inspire and re-energize all of the people who make the cities we live in great places to live? What can we do to reaffirm the idea that the things that currently aren’t great will get better and that our cities, are in fact, awesome?
A manifesto for taking pride in, and ownership of, the places we call home.
Why is it when we speak about [this city] and try and deal with present and pressing issues we do so in such pessimistic and destructive ways? Why don’t we speak to [this city] and about [this city] in the same way we speak to close friends who are down on their luck?
What if we made more of an attempt to seek out the uniqueness of a given place?
What if, as tourists & visitors, we made more of an attempt to seek out experiences that presented us with authentic perspectives on the places we visit? What if we made the choice to take the ‘path less travelled’ and step outside the comfort of what has been created for us by the tourism industry?
Why Block Party in a Box?
A manifesto for gathering in the name of neighbourliness. 📜
We all reside on some type of street and whether we live in an apartment, a detached house, or townhome, we all have amazing people we call our neighbours. But when was the last time we got together with them simply to party?
What About Our Stories?
Thoughts about leaving a local historical narrative that’s worth reading. 📰
There are so many stories, images, essays and pieces of literature that create an important and defining record of London’s history which that are lost on a daily basis. Ephemeral—written on single pieces of paper, files stored on hard drives that are not made to last, oral histories that are not being passed on from generation to generation; or ignored—lacking credibility as they are not produced by 'qualified journalists'. Many of the stories that are so important to defining our lives today, and capturing the prevailing narrative of today for tomorrow, continue to disappear as we often lack the intentionality to capture and preserve them.