Passage #363: 3 August 2016

Genii Loci

The city that you first encounter is never the same as the city that you come to know. While your associations are still forming, each place may be sketched out in vivid outline, the details filled in with your own ideas - speculative connections; imagined interactions; fuzzy, or simply wrong, impressions -- all beautifully incorrect.

If, in your first reading of the landscape, you misjudge direction, thinking north is east and east is south, you may find yourself sketching out a place that exists only in your mind. When you return, with your mental compass realigned, the place you once knew is inaccessible. Though it may hover there like a ghost, it is filled with impossible connections.

In time, you will revise your notional city into something consistent and consilient, so that each place fits in with all the others. It is less fanciful certainly, but perhaps still beautiful (and perhaps still incorrect). So, you say, what if this new version of the city is not to your liking? Well, with effort, maybe you can recover that first version with the vivid outlines and, if only for a moment, relive the city as it never was.

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