Culture

A Sense of Place

Finding permanence in a changing landscape

Dawn Nelson
3 min readJul 24, 2023

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The Sunday Dispatch ~ July 23, 2023

A blissful capture of a street corner into something beautiful and inviting. Photo by author, © Dawn Nelson.

As I round the corner, I am embraced by the inviting ambience of a patio garden. It is almost as if this space appeared by magic. The last time I walked by, it was an apothecary. Now it is something else altogether, much to my delight.

I quickly learned that this space is only temporary while there is still construction on that block. Since the sidewalk is closed on the one side, this patio garden corner is possible — for now.

This is a space for emotional alchemy.

I envision a few early evenings here in the near future, enjoying the warm presence of the flowers and plants while writing song lyrics.

I have been watching certain developments on the north side of my town and marveling at the aesthetic differences. I like to notice how things change over time. There is beauty in this constant transformation.

One of the developments is an old brownfield site that will, when complete, host some open green space along with a mix of commercial and residential buildings. Right now, it is just bare earth. I spend time watching the earth moving machines change the landscape. I can see the river now from new vantage points, where previously it was hidden by trees. I can even see the dam from the bridge, which is something very new. Yet, this new landscape harkens back to days long gone by.

Several months ago, I went to the historical library to learn more about the area and found several old photos. One photo was of the train station near the site of this new development. The road in front of the train station was still dirt and not yet cobblestone. You could see the dam from the hillside, much like you can now due to the flattened landscape.

I am deepening my sense of place.

Beauty is a strange phenomena; it seems to exist on a continuum, open to interpretation.

Every summer there is a three or four day art fair that draws thousands of people to see artwork from hundreds of artists. It is probably what this town is most known for during the summer season and in general.

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Dawn Nelson

Artist, writer, strategist ~ writing creative nonfiction, memoir, essay. WIP: 0100 Series & The Sunday Dispatch.