Yesterday when I made public my profession of love for Boston, several
folks responded with some insightful reflections on the nature of commitment to place.
I should add that it took me six years to finally say "I love you",
which indicates the commitment issues I’ve been having. It’s also a
bit frustrating that I finally have reached this point just as I begin
to face the possibility of a major move in the next year or two
(provided I actually finish my dissertation and get a job of some
kind). But I’ve decided that when I leave, I want to miss this place
rather than hedge my bets now in order to make the process of leaving
I agree with Jarret and Jean’s suggestion that the marriage analogy
has it’s limits in this context. Lorianne makes these limits more clear
she wonders if moving=divorce or loving two places = bigamy. However, I
think Pica’s idea of having some kind of ritual that
reflects one’s commitment to place is worth considering. It seems
blogging about place is a kind
daily ritual of commitment (in the same we have daily ways of
signalling commitment to those we are with), but something more formal
would be interesting.
Perhaps such a ritual is particularly important for those of us who
have nomadic tendencies, who are trying to rediscover a deep sense of
place, or who are compelled for whatever reason to move often. The
challenge for us is to figure out what our ethical, spiritual, and
artistic responsiblities are to a place no matter whether we live there
for two years or twenty. And in some ways, it’s the two years that’s the real challenge.
Any thoughts on what rituals of place commitment might look like? To what extent is writing part of this process? I may have to think about this a bit more.