Sense of Place

Bighorn River (Map)

There are times in everyone’s life when you love someone, but they don’t love you back. I think this also applies to jobs that you have or places where you live.

We talk about the culture of a job and whether someone fits in or not. I think to truly love your job, there has to be a resonance with the culture. There needs to be a mutually beneficial relationship with how you fit in and how others appreciate you.

Sharing the RiverI think the same is true with where you live. I have certainly lived places where I never thought I really belonged; on the other hand I have lived places where I would wake up grateful to be alive.

I can think of several examples in my life where this has been the case. The earliest memory I have of understanding “sense of place” was when I visited Denver when I was 10 years old and went to a dude ranch where I took my first 25 mile horseback ride, pet deer near to our cabin and smelled wildflowers that dotted the property. I knew then that I wanted to live in the Rocky Mountain west.

On the flip side of the coin, I lived in Michigan for 25 years and never felt that I belonged there or that I wanted to be there. I had good jobs, good friends, a nice home, and nothing seemed to make me want to appreciate where I lived. I constantly admonished myself for not being grateful, but nothing changed the fact that I wanted to be in the Rocky Mountain west.

Bighorn FeaturedI feel a real connection with Denver and love everything about the city where I live. Lately, I have felt a strong pull towards Montana. My love for fly-fishing happened on the Bighorn River in south central Montana and every time I return to little Ft. Smith, I find myself pulled to this tiny, one-block town in the middle of the prairie with an amazing river running through it. I’m starting to plan to spend some more time there and live out this desire.

Interestingly, I met an octogenarian who feels the same way I do. She leaves her home in the Bay area of California to spend 5 months or so in little Fort Smith fishing every day. Goodness! I could fish and write about it for another 25 years or more. This makes me feel better as my journey is quickly approaching the halfway mark.

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