Does geography shape us, too?

We know families shape our personalities, as do friends.  We know our living conditions also shape how we approach the world (poverty/wealth, good/bad schools, high/low consumption of resources, et cetera).  At some point I began to wonder how geography shapes who we are.  It seems like it must.  So I am always curious about the geography of where people live.  I had never been to western Tennessee and Kentucky; here are some of the landscapes I saw.

 Much of Tennessee looked like this — fields and woods.
I am used to woods with huge redwood trees; these woods were the sort I had only seen in movies before.
Where roads cut through the hills, you saw these layers of limestone.  This area was all underwater in prehistoric times, and there are fossils in stones everywhere.
This is the Cumberland River at Fort Donelson (a Civil War site).  Rivers have carved and shaped this land, creating fertile valleys. 
Near Clarksville TN are the Dunbar Caves, created as water trickled through layers of limestone, and dissolved the softer rock.  Archeological evidence shows that Native Americans used these caves for thousands of years before Euro-Americans arrived, for storage, shelter, and sometimes ceremonies.  The entry to the cave is cool, and back in the 1930s was used as an outdoor dance hall, with the stone risers for the band still there.  Now the cave is sealed off, to protect the bats from disease carried by humans.
Nature astounds me with its strength and determination.  It is so beautiful.
Does geography shape us?    What do you think?

About judithornot

Lives in semi-rural Northern California, happily married, retired counselor, night person, knits, plays WoW.
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3 Responses to Does geography shape us, too?

  1. In that last photograph, I’m fascinated by the way the large tree root has molded itself around the stone. As the rock shapes the root, perhaps geography shapes us.

    Steve Schwartzman


    • judithornot says:

      I think so, too, Steve. Am also wondering if the shaping occasionally goes against the grain of our personalities, and that is one of the reasons we may move elsewhere. Why some places feel more like home.


  2. For me the geographical shaping was a question of temperature: I grew up in New York but my body does better in a warmer climate, so I ended up in Texas..


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