Its Rosie’s Day. I didn’t know whether to get her to clean or shop or what and instead I opted for a trip to Urunga to look at Arkue’s new house, eat at the Liberty Providore. We returned the wheelchair to CCO and bought a little bit of food. Then home to bed.
This morning MacMan called to say he had the computer so I said I would go and fetch the monitor from the Kids. Turned out we decided the monitor may be too old or the purpose. Nonetheless I stayed there the whole day. A family day. Just about my most cherished of days. We played and talked and made Fathers Day cards. Then Tad and his Mum came and how we wished we could help her. Deep in the bowels of grief and illness and age and everything associated with that. It was a good visit even though not a happy one.
Seems that MacMan is hard at work on my new Mac. I shall buy a monitor in a few weeks when I have enough money. Meantime I shall use the laptop as it is. A 13 incher.
My daughter grows Lavender. She says she is connected to it. She says she is going to retire to Tangiers one day.
I did not even attempt to go to meeting or shop. I am, like my former mother in law – FRIED. Poor Lady she is older than I am. And that is terribly tough.
I went for a monitor but found I had gone for an entirely different reason.
My Son In Law makes knives.
Now its Facetime with Eden. I begin to feel safe once again and less ruffled.
I came across that GenusLoci reading yesterday and it made a great deal of sense to me about many of the things I have lived by and believed in and instinctually followed. I have friends galumphing all over the place – which they are welcome to do but so very few of them come back ALTERED. In 1973 when Tony and I went North randomly heading around Australia, we really didn’t get far because JUST LOOKING meant little to us. We stopped at Port Douglas and lived in a tent on 4 mile beach and grew to know the people and the place.
I have rather a nasty disdain for TOURISM and tourist resorts.
I grew up in a suburb of Sydney called Belmore. I lived there the first 20 years of my life and it never had the least hold on my spirit or any part of me. Never has. I came here at the end of 1973. Mum and Dad honeymooned here in 1948 and we came every year for holidays. It called me Home and that is what it has remained, Sometimes I go away. Back to the City to live for a time when I got clean. Up to the Tweed when the Kids were both gone and grown.Both of those places call to me as does Eden which I only found in 2013.
But then I come Home. Amongst my people. Amongst my ghosts. Amongst the seeds of the future.
Including the very deep philosphy that has dwelt within me for as long as I can recall. Call it anarchy. Call it whatever you like – but mostly , mostly I have had the great good fortune to live it. To live by my deeper beliefs. That is a very wonderful thing.
“Geographers call this special something that makes a place unique its “genius loci” – literally, “the wisdom of place”.”
THE WISDOM OF PLACE
“Wendell Berry once wrote that “wisdom accumulates in a community the way fertility accumulates in soil”. Historically, people throughout the globe were so bound to their territory that their identity was inseparable from the places they were from.
But no longer. Today, our connection to place seems to be eroding as quickly as the topsoil Berry compares it to.
In the last century or two, it’s become common for us to skip from place to place like stones on a pond, crossing state and even national boundaries with ease. Car and air travel have lowered the time and expense of such journeys, and modern technologies like air conditioning, watershed engineering, and artificial fertilisers have opened up whole new areas to human habitation on a massive scale.
Meanwhile, mass media and globalised businesses have made moving seem less intimidating by lowering the cultural barriers to relocation. The benefits of living in such a mobile society have been promoted for centuries: a more significant opportunity. Freedom from persecution. Better weather. But what are the trade-offs? What have we lost by becoming urban nomads?
According to a growing body of thinkers, a lot. Perhaps too much. One unfortunate consequence of all this moving around is homogenization. When people stay put and relatively isolated from others, they develop unique ways of speaking, thinking, creating and working. That’s how Latin differentiated itself into French, Spanish and Italian, or how every Aboriginal people had a different set of iconography for their art.
Geographers call this special something that makes a place unique its “genius loci” – literally, “the wisdom of place”.
Today, genius loci is an endangered species. As we continue to globalise, we’re losing unique musical traditions, languages, folk remedies, land management practices and more at an alarming rate. The homogenising influence of the capitalist economy has been like taking a blender to a salad, turning a rich array of cultural flavours into a bland mush.
But reconnection to place is about more than mere cultural homogenization. The loss of genius loci also has profound consequences for our relationship with the natural world.
That’s because an itinerant society isn’t able to perceive the long-term rhythms of a place: how frequently it experiences extreme weather events, for example, or the intricate ways in which the various plants and animals in the ecosystem keep each other in check. Without this knowledge, we often end up causing great harm to ourselves and other species trying to fit in.
The bottom line? Until at least some of us rediscover what it means to become native to a place, we’ll continue to reproduce “cultures of nowhere” wherever we go, and our ignorance will continue to wreak havoc on the people and species around us.
Rebuilding genius loci – like any form of RESTORING CAPITAL – is a long, long, process. These days, it’s rare for someone to live in the same place for 20 years, let alone 20 generations.
A great many of us in Australia are relative newcomers, having arrived in the last few centuries by force or the promise of a better life. But that shouldn’t keep us from starting. Every great journey begins with the first step, and by asking the right questions, we can make great strides in adapting ourselves to the places in which we reside.”