On the Importance of Place | First Thoughts | First Things

One of the natural loves that humans possess is a love of place. Bubbling up from love for home and love for creation, the love of place shapes humans, conforming them to the topography of the landscapes they inhabit. As C. S. Lewis notes, to speak of a love of home is to conjure up images associated with a way of life at a particular place—all of the sights, sounds, smells, mannerisms, dialect, and other peculiarities associated with the locale. Falling in love with a locale, however, is fundamentally to peer into the beauty of creation refracted in and through the land and its inhabitants. The love of country also stems from the love for the region one associates with home. These interpenetrating circles of home, region, and country all speak to humanity’s need of place and the way in which humans instinctively root themselves somewhere.

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The aromas and fragrances of the places humans inhabit conform them to the land and tether them to life. From this love patriotism springs with its sense of home, as does love for creation. In their commitment to place—a vow of sorts that humans make to bind themselves somewhere to a piece of earth—they discover that the land grounds and shapes them. Yet, unless one’s love for place is so fierce that one would reform it to save it, place becomes the end of life rather than the beginning that it was meant to be. 

via On the Importance of Place | First Thoughts | First Things.

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