Columbian Park and Neighborhood: March 11, 2016
Today I took a walk around our neighborhood and Columbian Park with the kids. I wanted to take some pictures and explore the natural and human-built overlays of the park and get to know our neighborhood in a different way, so when a friend called to meet up at the park for a walk since the weather was supposed to be nice, I jumped on board. We left the house about 8:30 am and walked four blocks east to the park, along Wallace St. The weather was much cooler than anticipated, though the sun was shining. I pushed the stroller and Jonah rode his “new old-fashioned bike,” a tiny bicycle with training wheels that Marc found a couple of summers ago on the side of the road in Norwalk. It was spray painted an orange-ish yellow (wheels and all) and has since been repainted red, white and blue for last summer’s Fourth of July parade at Redbrook. This was one of the shorter trips to the park – Jonah rode quickly and efficiently (no stops to pick up sticks or pauses to take breaks because he “ran out of biking power”). Once at the park, we rode around the outside of the zoo, around the playground equipment (with several stops to play), and along the pond to the train station, before crossing the street and riding down Park Ave. to my parents’ house. All in all, we were gone about an hour and a half.
My uncle Tom teaches a class, Face of the Land, at Rochester Institute of Technology. He was kind enough to share his course materials so that I could more or less follow along. This course "explores how the land around us has been shaped and reshaped through a variety of geological forces and historical developments" including our evolving relationship with the land due to changes in technology and society. My personal interest in the topographic postcard is, I have come to find, an interest in a personal relationship with one's landscape and the relationship between place, home, and identity. It recently occurred to me that I have been consistently preoccupied with personal identification with place and the process of community building, particularly in how it relates to self-identification of home.
Ruth M. Smith
Community arts educator and researcher. Drinking coffee. Home educating. Making art. Listening intentionally.