Places that Catch the Heart
A scene on The Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus in Baltimore, Maryland. April 13, 2014.
I blame Florence.
I studied there for a brief blink at the tail end of my college career. Florence ranks as one of the few places I’ve visited or lived that catch my heart and imagination. The Greek Isles rank on the list as well. And lest you say that Florence and the Greek Isles would capture any heart and imagination, I’ll note that Madrid, Baltimore, and Houston have made my list as well. You can’t claim that these three locales often rank on most people’s lists of favorite places.
I’ve spent time in other places that I found plenty enjoyable and that I appreciated in the moment and in retrospect, but I don’t viscerally miss them in the same way. London and Chicago make for two examples: I lived in these two places for longer than I spent in some of my favored stops, yet memories of the places on my heart-catching list have greater vibrancy. And the spots that caught my heart draw me back; I don’t dislike Chicago and London—in fact, rather the opposite—but I don’t feel compelled to revisit either city.
What drives this?
Why do some places catch the heart—and not others? And how can a place capture one heart and do nothing for another?