I have just had a particularly lovely holiday away in Norfolk. One of the best things that I saw was a sign for ‘Thetford Ranges’ I don’t know what these are, but someone had helpfully graffitied an ‘O’ before the word ‘ranges’ that made me smile a good deal. Near to where I live is a road called ‘Poor Hole Lane’. The ‘r’ is coloured over on a regular basis, and whenever I see it, I feel sort of proud that someone, somewhere, has felt motivated to continue the funny. I have never done this. neither have I stolen a cabbage from the local fields (the other apparent rite of local passage), but it made me think about how I perceive different places and the effect that it has.
Whenever I go back to the place where I grew up, I feel as if I am treading on my memories. Although some things look the same, nothing feels that way. I feel a sense of guilt, that maybe I shouldn’t be there, but at the same time, a sense of wonder, that this magical place of growing up still exists. My brother, barring a few years out, has lived in the same area all of his life. I struggle to imagine what that must be like.
The sense of connection to somewhere that you lived feels enormous. Part of me will forever reside in these different places, and visiting them will always feel a bit like going back to that stage of my life. Maybe that is what feels unnerving, that by seeing myself in these older locations, I become so massively aware of the changes that I have gone through, and it doesn’t sit right with the person that I am now. Then I go on to think about people who have lived in hundreds of places, do they have that same sense of connection? Or does their journey never have a chance to bond with a physical location?
It felt strange coming home after being away. My house felt different. As did my road, my car and the sunshine seemed to shine differently than when I was away. It struck me how fragile the connection to a place can be.
Map Point. Where in the world do I feel most connected to?