There is a way that our desire to belong causes us to mimic, however poorly, those we hang around with. Adolescents really get this! The power of sub-cultures is in their uniqueness and the power of mass media is in its ability to homogenize those differences. We walked several miles of white sand beach on Tybee Island in Georgia this morning. We were on the east coast and the water was warm. A few miles down the street two giant sword fish chased each other through the surface of the water. The sand was horizon and pathway. The server at the coffee bar suggested a dark roast “cawfee” and we were in.
There as the light streaks through the trees and lands on the broad leaved grass, people walk calmly in the 100 plus degree weather. Savannah has more than 20 parks in its’ core by design. The cooling trees that shade the streets, the open spaces in the parks, the fountains and the wide breezeway streets naturally condition the neighbourhoods. We stored our way through boutiques and tourist traps as we moved from parks to arches.
All this brings me back to the beginning. The ability of people to create liveable environments speaks to our ability to adapt to circumstances. Language as we adapt it allows us to begin to believe that we belong. We fit! When we learn the language of a sub-culture, be it church, trade, recovery community or neighbourhood we begin to feel like we belong. Valuing the differences keeps us from homogenizing them. Valuing the weather here at 100 degrees while knowing that in Alberta it snowed today is all about recognizing differences knowing some are worth adapting to and others deserve to be ignored. Now for a cawfee and some grits. The boat in the harbour colours the landscape – a visual accent!