Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I HEART Williamson County, Tenn.

This past weekend I spent some quality time in one of the most beautiful
parts of the U.S. that I have personally visited to date: Williamson
County, Tenn.

Located on the southern edge of the Nashville area, the county is home
to cities such as Brentwood and Franklin (as well as a giant gaggle of
country and Christian music stars) and is teeming with hills, trees and
wide open spaces. People wave to “strangers” and children ride
their bikes throughout their neighborhoods without adults having to be
right on top of them. Houses of all shapes and sizes are spread out a
little, a far cry from the zero lot line mania that has infected so much
of modern development (particularly where I live, in Central Florida).

It was a glimpse of a lifestyle and surroundings that I did not realize
still existed in America, and with a strong flavor of indigenous
authenticity: These communities were not designed by some master plan
and approved by a zoning board, they simply have always been there. In
other words, they are grounded in history rather than invented by
developers. There is a lack of the generic, strip mall culture so
typical of what is found in so many places.

I arrived home with a modified mindset of possibilities when it comes
to participating in authentic community. It is easy to become or remain
cynical when immersed in a culture where most people are looking out for
themselves (especially when you were born in such a context and never
knew otherwise), but my weekend in Williamson splashed some new drops of
idealism across my outlook.


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