The Jigsaw of Spirit of Place

For me connecting with Spirit of Place is where I can resource and have a sense of home and belonging.

A while back, I was in the doctor’s waiting room with my grandson when I started to observe an elderly lady waiting anxiously for her turn. Someone was sitting beside her talking, but she only seemed to be half listening. I then noticed another elderly lady go up to her and ask “Do you remember me?”

Her anxious face broke into a smile and she replied “Yes, we went to school together”.  From then on they sat companionably together, holding gnarled and slightly shaky hands exchanging occasional rheumy glances. Their combined energy was incredibly peaceful and so touching that it was possible to feel it spreading throughout the waiting room. I realised as I sat there that shared history is a form of Spirit of Place.

This week I went to a friend’s funeral which was in a tiny village church and she was buried under a beautiful copper beech. It was a celebration of her life and there was something incredibly comforting in the quintessential Englishness that surrounded us .A sense of everything was exactly how it was meant to be.  A part of my childhood was exactly that “quintessentially English” and I understood that it was still very much part of me despite having lived abroad for many years, a French education and feeling genetically a mixture of backgrounds and spiritual beliefs. Interestingly old friends were there too and we companionably held hands every now and again.

Whilst I was in France recently I made a video of the village where I reconnect with the French side of me and when I came back to England I had a great urge to find some bluebells in an old English wood. Spirit of Place for some us is quite simple and for others like myself it is a jigsaw of different places, feelings and memories.

Really connecting with the Spirit of Place of Fakenham has started a heart warming adventure of putting the jigsaw together. As a friend once said to me “we need to grow where we are planted”….