"A sense of place is the sixth sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.” —Rebecca Solnit
Around and around Highland Circle the children are wizzing by on their electric bikes; neighbors are walking dogs and teenagers are sunbathing on their front lawn. Every five feet there is another person you know. You stop. You wave. Converse. Goodbye. Walking around Highland Circle is an endless cycle of neighborly conversations. There is always that one couple that talks to you for too long, or that one dog that you’re scared of jumps on you. Being in Wayland is like being at a never-ending giant family reunion.
The outdoors is what brings this community together. Whether it is going on a walk on the rail trail or walking across the parking lot to the Whole Foods Supermarket. It is impossible to go anywhere outside your home without seeing someone you know.
I have called Wayland my home since I moved from Illinois when I was seven. I was involved in the public school until I was in sixth grade and then thought I was out of the Wayland community for good. I had no dislike toward the town but never felt attached. Thinking that I was disconnected from the community was a dumb thought. Not only was I still considered a part of the community. I was forced to be a bigger part of it because I did not go to the public schools.
Running errands took double the amount of time because every person I see had to stop and ask me how school was and what I’d been up too. Because I was not actively participating in the town activities such as sports or theater, I felt like I wasn’t doing my part.
I decided to join the swim team to reconnect with friends as well as volunteer at a local camp where I interacted with the children as well as adults in the community. Wayland is not a town that will let you “get by.” You have to do your part and be active in the town so that you can fully enjoy the amazing community it has.