Daily Archives: December 19, 2011

memory markers?

The most private of conversations happen not always in the most private of rooms. Frequently, and i would argue mostly, they occur in the most public of spaces. Conversations about love, loss, decisions about critical issues, joyous and tragic unexpected news is announced to us, not in quiet rooms with closed curtains, but frequently in the most public, open spaces you can get, a park bench, a seat on the edge of a raised garden bed, a cafe table and chair…and these very public of places become markers in our memory. If you think back to critical news you received, those key relationship make ups/break ups/first dates/final meetings, decisions that you made,  discussions with a close confidante, results that were read from tests, exams and life changing admissions/declined applications, and the fate that they sealed/opportunities they opened, important letters read, internal debates had about choices…they happened, frequently, in a public space, a library, a cafe, a park, a street seat or stairs of a civic building. And that space, becomes a memory marker in your conscience. You cannot walk back to that place without recalling the critical conversation had there, you cannot sit at the same cafe without remembering, you cannot walk past that bench without reflecting.

That is why we need good urban spaces, private public spaces, intimate enough for life’s most important and critical discussions to take place, private enough to talk, but public enough to feel you are not alone.  There are witnesses to your life, passers by, the general public, other people..and thats important. They distract, providing welcome relief when the discussion becomes unbearable, when talking ceases, when its time to decide, when there is nothing left to say…

Memory markers…walk past one and you will know. It will all come flooding back, like it was yesterday. It reminds you where you came from, and why you are here and where you are going. And reminds us that we are not alone. And we all need that.


private public spaces or are they public private spaces?


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