At the beginning of one of our lectures, we were asked to both close our eyes and imagine a time in which we were amazed by nature, and also to draw what we thought of when we heard the word environment. For me, I thought of my trips to Gatlinburg, TN with my family both when I was a young kid and just recently over the summer. As a result, I drew a setting that very much so reflects that same setting.
Now perhaps I just drew something similar to my experiences because I had just been thinking about them, but maybe there’s a deeper reason. As we learned in class, there are different influences to our environmental beliefs, and they come from our childhood experiences, sense of place, and historical influences.
Out of these three influences, sense of place stood out to me to be rather interesting, while childhood experiences and historical influences seemed rather logical to me. But I had never thought of sense of place before that lecture. I grew up in a small town just north of Columbus, where everyone basically knew everybody else, the same parents were avid volunteers in both the schools and community, and it seemed as though everyone agreed when it came to ideologies. Except me, it felt. I never really felt like I belonged there, so honestly, when I graduated high school (and even during my senior year), I was counting down the days that I could leave my small town. When I first read about sense of place in the textbook, I thought about my hometown as my “rootedness” setting, but that slowly changed after I learned more about it in lecture.
I realized that when I finally left, I understood what sense of place really meant. Now, I love my old town. Except not exactly. I love some of the people, namely my family, remaining friends, and my dog Jake. But other than that, I really don’t care, and I lived there my entire life. I moved to Cincinnati in 2013 and now I can’t imagine being anywhere else. It definitely helped me find my self-identity and I’ve finally found a place where I feel as though I belong. Ironically, I just moved to Covington, but the sense of place is still there. I live directly on the river, so I literally am looking at the Cincinnati Skyline right out my window as I write this.
Sense of place very much so describes our environment, and I get that now. I think that if the activity I wrote about from class was slightly altered, and asked us instead to draw what we thought was “home” I would draw Cincinnati, or at least a larger town where you don’t always run into someone at the grocery store or doctor’s office.