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Kvetch in the City - topohilia

Now that Hallmark February is upon us, (and since this past December and January were quite literally terrorizing) I’d like to take a moment and turn my internal focus on love.

Not necessarily the kind of love between two people, family or pets. I’m thinking about love of place, of home, of the place one calls home.

I recently learned there is an actual word for love of a place: topophilia. The word was popularized by the geographer Yi-Fu Tuan in 1974 as “the human being’s affective ties with the material environment.” I’ve been thinking a lot about this feeling of love and warmth for a place and about this city I call home.

To be honest, my first love of place was and always will be New York City. The place I was born. Fact is though…I up and left NYC. I moved. I moved to Nashville to pursue a dream that seemed only Nashville could fulfill, (along with a bit of running away from dysfunctional family of origin thrown in for good measure.)

While there is much I have complained about living here (I mean, I am Kvetch in the City after all), for example, the lack of effective mass transit and connecting sidewalks…(please Nashville government…please do something about that!) for twenty six years I have called Nashville home. And in that twenty six years I have created a lot of life here. A solid one at that, with roots that have taken hold in a loving Jewish community and a vibrant Nashville art community.

After the horrific and shocking suicide bombing on Christmas morning, (though it somehow feels like years with all the other dramatic horrifying unfolding news of the last few weeks) I naturally reflected on my feelings about this city I call home.

In my early years of life in Nashville, besides going to Radnor lake daily, I used to love going downtown on a regular basis. I would take Garrett in his stroller to the amazing Red Groom’s Fox Trot carousel for a ride and then walk the sleepy streets over to Sbarros, one of the few places where you could get a slice. There was a little barbecue sidewalk shack on Broadway and Acmes actually was a feed store for farmers. And, believe it or not, you could actually find a parking spot, no problem. I could go on quite a bit about how cool Nashville was/is as a unique Southern city and how good it has been to me and for me on so many levels.

Suffice it to say, as February fills Krogers’ middle aisle with chocolates, flowers and sentimental cards, I reflect on that new word,

, and realize if I am to send a candy heart message of love this month, it would be to Nashville, and it would say...You stole my heart.


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