Getting to Know Our Places
In Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, desire path is defined as “the route people have chosen to take across an open place, marking a human pattern upon a landscape.” Desire paths are everywhere—diagonal shortcuts from sidewalk to sidewalk, trails blazed through waist-high bramble, impromptu breaks in shrubbery on parking strips. Humans, like other animals, have their own sense of how to traverse the landscape regardless of what city planners and naturalists suggest.
But places—especially those that are important and familiar—leave their mark on us, as well. They inspire, challenge, and mystify us. In response, we revel in them, seek in them respite and retreat, care for and defend them. This can be the very best kind of relationship.
This summer, Oregon Humanities and Metro Regional Government are working together on a special series, Know Your Place. The series is an interactive exploration of human relationships to place, featuring four Oregon scholar-artists—Barry Lopez, Debra Gwartney, Linda K. Johnson, and Matt McCormick—and three of Metro’s stunning natural areas. These events are free but registration is limited and required. Visit the Know Your Place page for more information.