The psychic landscape

"...[H]umans are in a fundamental way place-making animals, revealing in this act their individual and collective dreams. The landscapes that we create are combinations of artifice and nature, and in designing them people of every period have revealed a great deal about their cultural values while demonstrating the perennial exigencies of life and our universal need for water, food, and shelter....As the 20th-century French philosopher Gaston Bachelard posited, when examine space in terms of psychology and phenomenology we find that we are still place-bound creatures, carrying in the recesses of our memories personal histories of spaces we have inhabited and imagined. Further, we carry "placeness" in our genes and in our sensory apparatus as human animals, and because biological nature is till the matrix of our existence we long to feel at one with the natural world."

Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History

"The landscape is alive, it is a text in itself, it is a living text... There is a dialogue between one's internal being, one's psyche, and the nature of place, the landscape. There has to be some connection, some sort of bridge, which allows one to sense all sorts of relationships which one tends to eclipse, which one tends not to see at all."

Wilson Harris, quoted by Michael Gilkes, "The Landscape of Dreams"

I have always been one of those place-bound creatures described by Bachelard, carrying within me all past and present landscapes, real and imagined. I think that I might be a different person if I were to live in a different landscape. Recently, I was introduced to a beautiful corner of Connecticut that is only 2 hours away from New York City, where one's view is of infinite hills and trees under an immense sky. I can imagine myself living here, being in this landscape, happy to watch the fog roll over the hills in the morning. There is silence, open space, and solitude, all of which I often crave.

Kent, Connecticut, November 16, 2010

But in reality, this is where I live. The landscape I know is ultra urban, with its own brand of beauty that never ceases to amaze me. I love the mix of natural wildness and urban architecture jostling for space on the High Line. On a sunny autumn morning like today, there are few better places to be in the city.

The High Line, November 24, 2010

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