Saturday, May 22, 2010


I often wonder if our sense of place is not tied deeply to our childhood experience- and since we often don't live in those childhood places as adults, if we are constrained to ever feel at home when we leave.

I never moved out of Michigan, but I did move to another city and can't say even after ten years that I truly think of it as home.  Will this change as I raise my children here?

This weekend a place-event is happening: the St. Joan of Arc spring fair, an event that is as close to the core of my sense of place as is anything I can imagine. I will never forget the excitement in grade school as the carnival rolled in to town and began setting up in the parking lots adjacent to the school and church. Always in mid-May, the fair represented a time of renewal. We were released from school early on Friday to enjoy the warm spring days and ride the Ship Dragon and Tilt-a-Whirl.

The east side of Detroit and the eastside suburbs-  Lake St. Clair, St. Clair Shores, and Grosse Pointe, still feel more like home to me than anywhere else.

Image Credit: Andrew Potter:


  1. The prairie speaks to me as only home can. The hazy ribbon of the Niobrara River in northern Nebraska and the openness of the sky. Oddly enough, this is more where my parents grew up than where I grew up - which was mostly in the Black Hills. A magical place that I love dearly but is more a place of wonder than a home. That's just how it feels - go figure.

    But I also get the feeling I interpret as 'home' from the ocean. Maybe its more of a human home than a historic one. These are places I have no right to - but the quiet settled-in feeling is the same.

    ee cummings described it well:

    "may came home with a smooth round stone
    as small as a world and as large as alone.

    For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
    it's always ourselves we find in the sea"

  2. Addendum: I just remembered that I spent the first four years of my life in a seaside town in New Jersey. Rather than providing an exception ... maybe I proved a rule. D.

  3. Wow- love that poem- thanks for sharing!

    I know my father feels drawn to the sea- he did go to Brown for college but otherwise always lived in Michigan. I know my ancestors were fishermen in Sicily. I wonder how much of that stuff stays in your "DNA". over time- the sea, to some extent being the ancestral home of us all.