Noticing what is emphasized gives incredible insight into what is found to be important to an individual or community. This emphasis can be found through the observation of a new landscape or conversations with its residents. For something to be emphasized doesn’t mean its necessarily obvious –there is power in subtlety and interpretation through making connections with a particular place or person. It is not enough to read about a place or pass through –you must connect.
While talking with Gerry Greff, the mind and hands behind the Enchanted Highway and Castle, it was easy to see a longing for visitors, commerce, and recognition in an otherwise underexplored town. Though it is also important to value Gary’s opinion, it is also important to note that –in my short time in Regent, ND –I was unable to gather the opinions of other residents. In the oil fields of Williston, I spoke with two locals who shared the frustration with the boom, but also emphasized positive things about their town that national news failed to highlight. Passing through Terry, MT, the stop signs wore a particular shade of abandoned pink, though the town glowed with kind hospitality and intricate signs. What is emphasized in a community or an individual is immensely telling of the distinctive vernacular of that particular place.