"A sense of place is the sixth sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.” —Rebecca Solnit
My Hometown of Oneida, New York
My hometown is a place richly steeped in history and appreciation for the natural world. Where I live on 111 Ryan’s Way, there is a plethora of flowers, trees, bushes, and brush surrounding my beige home. My road is labeled a dead end, but the people, activity, and surrounding natural environment make this road an undoubtedly welcoming space to come to.
My yard is designated a National Wildlife Foundation Yard because my family provides shelter, water, and food for numerous bird species and other wild animals. We come home to mother deer and her softly spotted fawns walking along the boundaries of our property, wake up to numerous species of birds singing their songs, and witness scurrying chipmunks running along our retaining wall. No matter how small, each form of life that the natural environment nurtures is worth taking the time to stop for a moment, and study.
In downtown Oneida, the trees of Allen Park, located one block over from Main Street, provide a shaded space for people to come together to laugh, play, and socialize. Looking back at old photographs, it is as if I have grown along with the trees in this park. Now when I go to the park the trunks tower over me like a six story residence hall.
Every year the Madison County Historical Society, located on Oneida’s Main Street, holds its Craft Days Weekend event. While I always tell myself I go to do some early Christmas shopping, or to eat warm roasted almonds and kettle corn, I truly go because history still lives on in this place, and I find the reenactment of this history to be fascinating.
I have lived in Oneida all of my life and it honestly does feel like home to me; it is my home because I choose to be an active part of my community, and I try my best to be part of the greater landscape. My hometown of Oneida is much more than a mere point on the New York State map, it is a city in which a rich sense of community thrives.