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12 October 2012

u is for... unobtrusive magic (under the bridge)

Unobtrusive magic... tends to be forgotten.

I love this song. Maybe "love" isn't the word for it. I feel this song, deep within me - I know this feeling, that singular connection to place. That unobtrusive magic. Nobody's looking for it, usually. No human had to call it, create it, energize it. It is. It is natural. It's the spirit of place, or the energy of life coalescing, and we only find it when our mind is quiet enough to hear it speak. Like in the song, it's easiest to feel the energy of a place when we're alone - when we're not listening for other people, other things, other whatever. But maybe that's just me. There have been times in my life in which I felt completely alone except for the place I was in - the place was  my constant, closest companion; I was lonelier for leaving it, and felt most comfortable when I was immersed in that place, and in solitude.

Every time I hear this song, it brings me back to Sioux City, Iowa. I was 11 or 13, or somewhere in there, and I rode my bike all over that city, alone and free for a few hours at a time. Those lonely hours were the least complicated, and most soothing hours of my time in that city. It was as if the city itself were my companion, and she was just as lonely as I was.

There have been other places where I felt that connection to a place, though each has its own flavor. Sioux City was the loneliest place I have ever felt. We had that in common. The woods of my father's farm felt matronly and maternal; I needed that so much, then, that I wonder if some of that wasn't my own projections. Either way, it served me well. The town I live in now feels happily social - its energy is fed by love from its inhabitants, and in return it sings vibrantly. If I think back far enough, I've always felt that energy - for better or worse - in my homes and even in places I've only visited.

We forget, sometimes, how important place  is. Living in a place that has an energy dissonant to your own never seems to end well for the person, in my experience. The place has to feel right, our energies have to mesh cooperatively, if not smoothly.

For me, the energy of a place has turned out to be one of the most important factors in where I chose to live. I'm so very sensitive to the feelings I get from things and places... any feel of dissonance throws me off, feeds my depression and taints my happiness like a slow oil leak fouling a clear pond. It's more dangerous for being unobtrusive - sometimes I don't realize it was there at all until I move away, and it's gone. It was like that in my last home. I thought all the miserable feelings I had there were circumstantial (a lot of crappy things happened there). Looking back, I'm not sure that explains all of it. Since I moved, I have felt an aversion to even driving through that area. Again, I would have thought it was just me, but others have mentioned it as well. Others, who have no reason to dislike the place, have said they just don't like going there, and they're not sure why - it "just doesn't feel right."

It's an unobtrusive magic, but no less important for being so.

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