I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and of the degree of the arcades' curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past...A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira's past. -Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Thoughts on community (Part One-Home)

As a new blogger and anthropologist, thinking about community is kind of hard to avoid. While my academic and professional research has often revolved around various forms of community, my personal communities have generally revolved around people I know face to face.

Kurt and I still miss Arizona, I think because we felt part of a community (or really, several communities) there. Now, of course, many of those people who were part of our world have also moved away, though many are still there...and all in touch through email and cyberspace (is this a virtual community of the modern version of pen pals? More on cyberspace in the next post).

Although Boston is one of my favorite places (I went to university there), we never really felt "at home" during the two years we lived there. While we had friends, we didn't feel we had a community there.

With as much as I love the activity and dynamism of cities, I never imagined living in suburban Connecticut, let alone feeling settled and comfortable...yet I do. I work with great people, enjoy my friends, and have wonderful neighbors who we actually talk to. But maybe it would not have felt like home 10 years ago when I was at a different stage in my life--the community might not have been right. Is home where the community is?

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