Gerould Wilhelm


IV. All places on the earth, along with the people who inhabit them, are unique to all others, this singular quality embodied in the Genius Loci.

Geronimo, the great Apache leader, looking back on his beloved western homeland from a prison at Pensacola, Florida noted:

For each tribe of men Usen created, He also made a home.  In the land for any particular tribe, He placed whatever would be best for the welfare of that tribe.  When Usen created the Apaches, He also gave them their homes in the West.  He gave them such grain, fruits, and game as they needed to eat . . . He gave them a pleasant climate and all they needed for clothing and shelter was at hand.  Thus it was, in the beginning: the Apaches and their homes each created for the other by Usen himself. When they are [separated from each other], they sicken and die.

This is the universal understanding of aboriginal peoples.  Children grow up in a place and become embedded in its “pattern language,” governed by its numinous guardians.  Even in today’s culture, the differences between urban, suburban, and rural people are clear insofar as their dispositions toward everything.  The contemporary trend to use standard approaches and off-the-shelf commodities because of the perceived cost implications born of “economies of scale,” tends to debilitate the sensitivities to local numinous guidance and shift to focus inward toward self-absorption and divorce from diversity and community.

Here are at least 4 different environments all within Bluff Spring Fen:

The fen at Bluff Spring Fen with Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya)


Red Oak and Bur Oak Savanna  at Bluff Spring Fen


Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) savanna on hill at Bluff Spring Fen

Gravel kame at Bluff Spring Fen with Stiff White Aster (Aster ptarmicoides).

Hoary Puccoon (LIthospermum canescens) on prairie.

Each place on earth, great or small, has its own geological, geographical, ecological, and cultural address or signature, like no other place on earth.




All Chicago-style Bungalows built in a row by the same builder in my neighborhood, each with its own unique touches.

Even in a tract subdivision, with four floor plans, eight elevations, and the same fixtures, the homes, within a few months of inhabitancy by a family, become unique to all others that have ever been or ever will be.  Even at that scale, a neighbor would feel as a guest in an erstwhile identical house, the singular qualities now quite distinct.  This has always been the Way of nature.  We tend to fight it, but it really is the

We would do better to discover it to begin with, glory in it, love it, and design to it.  Bigotry and intolerance for others would begin to diminish as each community came to respect the differences and beauties of the other.

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