I spend a lot of time thinking about our urge to possess or capture a feeling of ownership. When I first moved to Vashon Island in Washington, a college friend who was busying knocking me down off the pedestal he’d hoisted me on, accused me of buying the local paper to wave a flag of ownership. ” You just want everyone to know you are a local now.”
I’ve thought of this moment often over the years as I watch others exhibit their need for possession of a place or I move to a new home and passionately dive into its local intricacies. This need to make a space for one’s self, a niche, a clique, a community.
Living in communities that have seasonal and tourist visitors make this very clear. People who come for a week or a month or a year hold these places in their hearts when they leave. They also have an annoying tendency to proclaim their ownership.
There is the urge to proclaim they know everything about this town — “What? YOU don’t know about such and such?” and also to try to raise to their expectation the quality of living in the community.
People who come for a year demanding reparation of roads and bridges. To change what it was that drew them to the local in the first place, the unique nature of the area.
Then there is the vying for positions, ” I’m the photographer”, “I’m the artist”or ” I’m the doula here” like a microcosm of the school yard is played out in the township. Can there only be room for one?
Is it human nature, biologically informed?
Or is there a magic to a vacation that allows for reinvention?
With this phenom I have learned only my own feelings quite clearly, and have no gross pronouncements to benefit those enjoying this ownership.
remember the multitudes before us have had similar manifestations of personality.
Those who have been born and lived long lives in these geographic locations have seen us, as others, before.
We come in and we go.
I left school in England with less of an education than an affectation of accent.
My dear New York friends who spent time in Asia declare pho “home cooking.”
As I stand looking into the vacation before me I ask myself to remember;
Humility, graciousness, lack of expectation and gentleness.
Humility– my way is not best, I do not know anything, I am here to listen, learn and love.
Graciousness– I need to respect the people who offer me help, or ignore my behavior. It is into their lives I am vacationing
Lack of expectation– I do not know. I cannot predict with certainty any outcome.
Gentleness– I need remember, everyone I see is a part of myself. Every smile we pass on lightens the world, every aggressive movement resonates.