Creative Commons licensing is a wonderful idea, allowing an artist to set the terms on which their work can be used. The image below is one of mine from Flickr but based on another photograph, (licensed under these terms) so allowing me to create derivative works and in this case even to make commercial use.
Having access in this way is really stimulating, letting me work with a host of images I would never have taken myself and allowing me both to practice digiatal manipulation and in some cases to produce works that stand on their own.
This one for example is I think different enough from its source to have a standing of its own. I'm looking at how I might post some of my own images under a Creative Commons license. It seems reasonable that if I make use of these I should also offer some up.
For various reasons we've been looking at the possibility of moving home. This isn't something I expected to do at my age (coming up to 60 next year) but things change. Although I have lived in my present town since 1990 I have no huge emotional attachment to it. I have friends of course but I have friends across the UK and thanks to blogging, across the planet. I wasn't born here and have no childhood memories of the place, which are to me a huge part of that sense of belonging to a locality.
It was slightly strange therefore to find that Ronni Bennett of Time Goes By is facing up to a similar challenge. She has now set up a new companion blog called A Sense of Place in which she intends to chronicle her search for a new place to live away from her beloved Greenwich Village.
One post struck a particular chord with me as she described the way in which the anticipation of that new life in a place as yet unknown is likely to drive her on - despite an unexpected opportunity to stay in New York.
I suspect the emotional momentum on my new adventure is already far enough along that there is no going back.
Like Ronni, if we do move we have no especial commitment to an area - there may be financial reasons for a particular choice but no emotional ones. So researching potential locations has created that same anticipation as possibilities emerge that we would never have thought about had the move not been more or less forced on us.
I say forced, but of course this is not a job move and so the option are much wider. We could move back to my (or my wife's) home town, but "You can dream about it every now and then, but you can't go home again". So we are being as rational as we can. We would like to live near the sea, we both prefer the east coast to the west, we want a reasonable level of facilities nearby such as hospitals, shops etc. The filtering process goes on but one area seems to keep popping up - not only affordable but cheap enough that I might be able to fulfil one of my life dreams and plant a wood. So the process of investigation, of assessing options, begins to develop its own momentum. The chance of a new start, the chance of a garden without bindweed, even that wood, all make you start to behave as if the deceision has already been taken.
One other factor that makes this process so much easier than it might have been even five years ago is of course the web - estate agents, health facilities, town directories, builders - all available at the click of a mouse.
From CoolTown Studios is this article about pedestrian oriented development. It is an excellent summary of why such places work in their own right, even before we add on all the other reasons - health, conservation of fossil fuels, climate change...
And of course they provide places for activity like those in the previous photo.
One of the things that always gives me hope is the behaviour of children - curious, energetic, demanding and generous. What we do to them as they grow is another matter - but the potential is always there.