"A sense of place is the sixth sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.” —Rebecca Solnit
My brother and I jokingly call it our territory, which is ironic seeing as the 100 acres of untouched woods behind our house isn’t our’s at all. However, ever since we were little, between the months of June and September when the boarding school which lays claim to all the acres of forest is vacant, those woods belong more to us than anyone else.
Avon, Connecticut, my home town since birth, is typical suburbia. The streets are lined with slanted oaks and cookie-cutter mansions. Neighborhoods are set up leaving little room for anything but houses, schools, and stores. As I’ve grown up I’ve seen the small space that is left over continue to shrink to nothing; with the exception of my woods. Driving down my street the houses all perfectly line up; picture perfect slanted oak trees and all, and then there is a gap for my driveway. The long, steep driveway both burdens me every Wednesday when the trash needs to be taken up, and is a blessing for sledding after every snowfall. At the end it splits with one road leading to my house and the other leading to my neighbors. For my entire life my neighbors and my family have blended, and I have always felt that I have five siblings and four parents. As much as the vast forest behind my house defines me, they do even more. The most precious memories of my life come from the days I spent with all my “siblings” exploring our forest. My house wouldn’t be my home without them.
I have never felt like I live in suburbia, with strip malls and close houses. Instead, my home is peaceful; driving down my driveway is like entering a silent world, where the only disturbances are our own voices, and where our land is our land, and we don’t have to share it with walkers, sirens,or cars. When I think of my home I don’t think of the town center. I think of my house, and my neighbors house, and the land that surrounds us, keeping us in our own world.