How can we write our way back home when home no longer exists in the present, but only in the past? Robert MacFarlane, writes of “solastalgia” in his new and heart-breaking natural history The Underland . “…the term coined by Glenn Albrecht in 2003 to mean a ‘form of psychic or existential distress caused by environmental change…he proposed his new term to describe this distinctive kind of homesickness. Where the pain of nostalgia arises from moving away, the pain of solastalgia arises from staying put. Where the pain of nostalgia can be mitigated by return, the pain of solastalgia tends to be irreversible.”
We can not revisit what has been destroyed. The people who lived in the Arrowhead Village Mobile Home Park were given six months to leave in November 2017 because the owner had sold the property. I drive past what once were 50+ family’s homes every day. Now, the land is a vacant lot. All that is left are a few rose bushes on both sides of the “security” fence and four or five electric and gas meters.
The neighborhood was low income, and the tenants took good care of their homes and little plots of land. Every time I see the rose bushes, I imagine that a resident had planted them. And I imagine that the depth of the pain experienced by the displaced neighbors cannot be measured by even the most compassionate markers.
And you? Do you long for a place destroyed by someone’s insatiable hunger for profit? Do you understand that the planet we live on is being eaten alive. If you haven’t fully grasped the latter, read The Underland and face that we are creating our own end times – and taking every other species with us.
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