Recently, I realized that this marks the fourth time that I have moved to Houston and the third time that I have lived in this specific area of West Houston. It hit me how I need to reengage this local environment, to pay attention to the specific life of this neighborhood. This is a challenge because life in modern society is not usually lived locally. With the web, Twitter, global news, franchise restaurants, etc., life is anything but local.
While reflecting on this, I've been reading a book by Wendell Berry. In it he wrote,
"Because they [early Americans] belonged to no place, it was almost inevitable that they should behave violently toward the places they came to. We still have not, in any meaningful way, arrived in America. And in spite of our great reservoir of facts and methods, in comparison to the deep earthly wisdom of established peoples we still know but little." (The Art of the Commonplace, 11)
This is a reflection on how the early Americans treated the land violently because they did not belong to the place. They just consumed space. If I am going to live locally, I have to embrace the local, to grab hold of this place and treat it as God's creation.
The first step in my situation is to observe, to get to know this place. That's my goal.