The Starting Point

12Nov09

Old Sevier Neighborhood

I drive over the abandoned railroad tracks past the gawdy BAIL BONDS sign, glance into the yellowy light of the laundromat right by that quirky little consignment shop filled with all sorts of funny lamps–Rewound, I think its called–until, after two more bumpy tracks, I am climbing the hill to my apartment.

The Old Sevier neighborhood in South Knoxville did not welcome me when I moved here last August to finish school.  I did not welcome it, either.  Now, with a view of downtown just across the bridge and the Smoky Mountains smudged into the backdrop, I am home here.  Just outside the big orange grasp of the University of Tennessee and just a half-hour walk to trendy Market Square, I claim this hill as my setting.  And, I am just beginning to understand the magnitude of this thing called place.

Sometimes a man will plant his flag in the soil to mark his territory.  Sometimes it is the place who claims the person.  I aspire to explore–always–the places I am, without hesitating to go where the world calls me.

So this is my starting point.  I’m here.  I promise to enjoy it, exhaust it… And, then I’ll get going.

What makes a place?  The number of people who call it home?  It’s restaurants and shops and parks?  Is it the public art or the neighborhood luminarias?  A rich history or the old man who always pushes his shopping cart down the parkway?

What do you think?

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