I finally watched the 2001 documentary Rivers and Tides about Scottish environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy. He does amazing, mostly transient, sculptures with natural elements like stone, leaves, and ice. I should not have been surprised to hear him say this about living in one place long-term:
I’ve lived in places for four or five years and moved on, and that is not enough time, it really isn’t enough time to understand the changes that happen in a place. You have to live on the same street in the same village for a long period of time, seeing children when they’re waiting at the bus stop grow into adults and have children of their own. There was an old lady in the village who has since died. She was quite a dour lady and she’d had a tough life. And she used to walk up and down the street that I lived in. And I said, “Since I’ve been on this street my son–well all my children were born there—my elder son was the first child to be born on that street for twenty one years.” And she said, “Well, you see only births, and I see only deaths.” From her perspective she just knew all the people who had lived in those houses and who had died. And I hope I never forget either those people who have been born and those people who have died.
Goldsworthy books and DVD available here.