...on a glorious day with just a hint of Autumn in the cool air. A long and enjoyable walk with friends in Oxfordshire, dipping into a fine old church, sipping tea while enjoying a particularly lovely view, mooing in a friendly way at cattle, picking blackberries, and talking over many things...
To have a sense of place is an interesting thing. John Paul II, for instance, was a man of place: he loved Poland and above all Krakow "where every stone and brick is dear to me". This did not prevent him from seeing things from a much, much wider perspective, and being able to communicate deep things to men and women of quite different places and with worldviews centred on a vastly different sense of geography and history.
A sense of place can help, rather than hinder, a sense of fellowship with one's fellowmen.
Can a young man reared on computer-screens and TV and hanging-out-with-friends and some football have a sense of place? Of identification with some bits of cityscape or townscape or countryside that evoke affection and loyalty and a desire to know more of the wider world? If not, would a passionate ideology perhaps replace it?
If a sense of place is useful and important, how can we help to foster it? Do local loyalties matter? How can, for example, our schools, help to foster such loyalty?