A Little Bit Haunted

A discussion of place continued.

One of the distressing things about place is the way places are always disappearing. It’s an odd thing to think about – or at least, I think it’s odd. That may be because I grew up in a rural area. City dwellers, it seems to me, are more used to change. That restaurant where we liked to eat last year? Gone. The bank at the corner of North and Pearl? A parking lot. Or the other way around (most likely).

Rural areas change so slowly, it’s possible to develop an illusion that they don’t change at all. That’s certainly not true. In fact, the place where I grew up has just about disappeared – the stores, the gas stations, the church and so on. But I haven’t been there in a long time. Those disappearances are a loss to the world maybe – or at least to the people who still live there – but not so much to me.

The Pond in Summer
The Pond in Summer
the pond in winter
The Pond in Winter

However, the pond has disappeared. That’s closer. I mean the pond, here in Albemarle County, that used to be at the end of Four Seasons Road, near where it connects with Commonwealth. I’ve taken many pictures of that pond, even inveigled some folks into painting pictures of it. And now it’s gone. I’m sure there’s a good reason – same as the reasons that take all those gas stations, restaurants, and even banks – but still, there’s the absence. It weighs. One day the pond was here, the geese and all. The next day a fence went up, the earth moving equipment arrived, and now the pond is no more. Alas!

This reminds me that one of the things we do about place is not only examine it, not only celebrate, but so often, simply have to say good-bye to it. And know that place is not only geographical, but in the imagination. And, of course, sometimes in pictures too.

A Goose by the Pond
A Goose by the Pond

This last picture is a shot, taken in my kitchen, of the latest member of my household. Yes, it’s Hanuman, lovingly depicted in papier mache by someone (I don’t know who) and now residing with me. Hanuman is the monkey god who was so helpful to Rama in his various quests.

Hanuman
Hanuman

The story goes that, at one point he was in search of some vital trees, but not being able to identify them, took the whole mountain (depicted in his hand here). That must certainly have rearranged somebody’s idea of place.

Fake Geese
Fake Geese
Susan Shafazek 
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