Historic forts are often on the list of things to see when we travel, but I’ll confess, it’s not because I’m a military history buff. All the defense and battle stories are part of our history as a nation. But they are not the whole story.
Forts are always placed at pivotal junctures. They’re placed at river mouths and crossing points. They’re placed on old trails, old roads and trading spots. They were chosen for their vantage point in a time when people traveled by sea, or when “rivers were the only roads.” They were a crucial linchpin from one place to the next, from the coast to the interior. They were – and are – passageways, and important points on the landscape.
Exploring why they are located where they are, and discovering what they were protecting or defending, or why opens a door to understanding the multiple layers of meaning that place holds.
Why we visit at dusk
For some reason these visits are the last thing we do after a day of rambling around. Maybe because they are always positioned between where we have been and where we are going.
And at dusk – another crossroad – the line blurs between night and day, past and present. The lives lost. The battles fought or never fought. The mighty stonewalls. And always a view of what was there to guard or protect. These visits hold some of my strongest memories of places. The quiet. The big sky. The perspective.
April 2018 Sense of Place Tip: Historic Forts are Power Spots
Try This: Find a fort name on the map a where a fort stands today or used to stand, and plan to visit.
Look for clues Track how long there have been forts, or other outpost in that location, and what they were protecting or holding at bay.
Study the map Learn why the fort was placed on that spot. Think beyond just the strategic military history, but also about why it is a significant point on the landscape.
Imagine the people Explore who lived or traveled there. Imagine while, off duty or on, they might have paused for just a moment and felt the mist of rain, seen the colors of spring, heard birdsong, or watched the rising moon, just like you.
Reflect Think about all the sides who fought to gain or maintain something important to them about that place. Reflect on why that place matters to you today.
How about you? Any cool fort experiences? I'd love to hear! Share your thoughts below or on my Facebook page.