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So, what is a GROWING PLACE?

We'd like to think it's not just another catchy phrase with a pun lurking behind its meaning but we know it is...and we like it. However, to understand what a place is and to then be able to make a place, we think it would be useful to consider how you would get a person to stay in one.

The simplest solution would be to take a rope and tie that person to the place - to "surround" him with a physical constraint. If this drastic measure is necessary, then the place is not a GROWING PLACE. But there are plenty of examples of places that use more subtle mechanisms of constraint such as a wall. Even after adding a door, needing permission to use it would be a constraint, which is a bit more subtle than the wall itself. Believe it or not, a tiny 6-inch high wall can keep a 3000-pound car in its place and out of a pedestrian's place. It is called a curb. Even subtler than a curb, a painted traffic line offers no physical constraint at all. It doesn't even say anything the way a "Keep Off the Grass" sign does. These types of constraint can be considered implied rules and they eliminate the need for physical methods of keeping someone in a place.

Of course, the preferred method is to put something in that place that holds the person's interest or makes him comfortable. A sure way to keep a football fan in one place is to provide an easy chair and a flat screen TV in that place on Super Bowl Sunday. A less contrived but more profound example of this phenomenon is a tree.

If we make believe the person in question is a child, what is it about the tree that will induce him or her to stay in the place it defines? In the summertime, the tree provides a chair back in the shade against which he can eat an apple that he picked from a low hanging branch. During the autumn, the child can gather and pile its leaves to make a new place soft enough to jump into. He can use the sticks that fall to the ground in winter for building a fire to create a warm place where he can roast a hot dog. And in the spring, if it's raining (and there is no lightning) the tree becomes a big umbrella under which he can smell its blossoms and plan a new tree house with some friends.

If the kid happens to be named Isaac and he hangs around for the next summer's apples, he can discover the Law of Gravity or, if he happens to be named Dennis, he and a friend can use it to conduct a 3-D 'speriment.

And finally, if she happens to be the girl on the cover, she can take the rope we originally surrounded her with to keep her in her place, and surround it with her hands because it is hanging from a place she wants to be in - a GROWING PLACE.

Growing Places