Cultural geographer Yi-Fu Tuan writes that place acquires deep meaning for the adult through the steady accretion of sentiment over the years (33). Tuan goes on to say that this sentiment for place accrues not necessarily through grand happenings but through small, almost nameless intimate experiences. Just as humble unspoken moments render places intimate; so do quotidian objects, like, for example a child’s doll. We do not typically pay heed to such items the way we would objects of art; rather, they become part of the fabric of our lives, too close to be noticed. However, as Tuan writes, if contemplated, we feel for these ordinary objects what a thing of beauty makes us feel – as though we are in the midst of an independent presence (Tuan 144).
As children we relate to objects with directness unshackled by the protective cynicism of adulthood; Yi Fu Tuan suggests that this openness grants children the ability to know the world more sensuously than adults, adding that this lost childhood gift of receptivity “is one reason why the adult cannot go home again” (185).
Tuan, Yi-Fu. Space and Place: The Perspective f Experience.
Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1977.