The name of this site is a little boring. “Richmond Matters.” Meh. Okay. Whatever.
I picked it in part because the domain name was available. Have you tried naming something in a compelling way and then making sure the related domain name wasn’t already taken?
It’s exhausting. So it was either this or Bubbaholic.com.
But I also like the multiple possible readings of the name.
Noun: “It’s a blog about Richmond matters.”
Verb: “Richmond matters, and here’s why.”
The second one is a little more emotionally vulnerable. When I’m in my IF moments about the future of Richmond, I want to tell myself that Richmond doesn’t necessarily matter, and that if it doesn’t survive, I’ll personally be okay.
But that’s not quite true. Not true at all, actually.
Richmond matters to me a lot.
No, I wasn’t born here and I don’t have a family history here.
But it’s the place I’ve lived longer than any other place in my life. It’s the place I’ve planted roots. It’s a place where I met and married my wife. It’s the first place I owned a home. It’s a place where I’ve planted in the soil, played in the rain, sweat through the summer nights, shoveled out the winter storms, and pedaled through the back roads. It’s a place I built my business, made my living, and invested my savings.
So much of me was born in Richmond, and no matter where I end up living later in life, part of me will die here. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Of course, Richmond matters for other reasons, too.
Richmond matters because there are many others out there like me who see their lives intertwined with the heartbeat of this place, and feel loyalty to it that transcends market research or tourist slogans about why it’s a great place to live.
Richmond matters because it is a canary in the coal mine that is small Midwestern cities competing for each others` jobs, housing, quality of life, disposable income and more. What happens to Richmond happens to a big chunk of the country, sooner or later.
Richmond matters because we have as a community lost so much and put so much back together over the decades that we cannot, in the end, do anything but keep striving to make it the best possible version of itself.
Vine Deloria said:
If you live in one place long enough, you begin to lose the defenses you’ve erected in order to survive in industrial civilization, and you fall into the rhythm of the land. You develop a different sense of the natural world and no longer have to think of things in the abstract. You think, instead, of how the land looks and what it’s telling you.
Always wondering who you are. Always trying to prove yourself, to prove that you are good enough, strong enough, rich enough, good-looking enough. Always trying to define yourself in terms of what you do for a living or what your hobbies are or what you can buy. I can see how that would be an effective survival technique in New York City, but if you live in a place where you’re not always having your identity called into question, you don’t need to worry about those things. You can simply be yourself.
Well, when the land gives you a foundation, you don’t have to struggle with that question. If you live a long time in one place, you have an ongoing experiential context. If you don’t, your life is limited to little disconnected experiences.
Richmond matters because it gives us a foundation, an identity. The identity is allowed to change, the foundation is allowed to shift and be reshaped. But it matters.