Does it matter what you call something? It is what it is, after all. Doesn’t that matter a lot more than a name or a word? Well, yes and no. Words and things have a kind of chicken-or-the-egg relationship. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which came first. Our sunny plaza, punctuated with palm trees and embraced by The Shops at Sea Pines Center, offered us an example of that recently. We used to call it a courtyard. Turns out that wasn’t exactly right.

Morbi vitae purus dictum, ultrices tellus in, gravida lectus.

When folks get time to think, when they’re not full-time busy providing, they come to some important ideas about how the world works and how life gets better. One realization that came from that kind of study is that what we think about tends to happen. “Positive thinking” was just the beginning and, of course, attitude doesn’t take the place of action. Yet, experience shows that our thinking plays a powerful part in what shows up for us in life. Makes sense when you consider that attention is energy, and energy prompts action and reaction.

What People Really Do Here

Back to the plaza. A few months ago, we gathered together for some planning, and we talked about what we see our customers, friends, and neighbors doing here in The Shops at Sea Pines Center. We see long-time Sea Pines residents catching up with each other and sharing the latest local news. We see seasonal residents reconnecting after being away for a while. We see visitors and guests chatting, to see what’s going on this week that they would enjoy taking part in.

It’s the kind of thing that communities have provided as far back in history as it is possible to see. In every village there was a well, or a granary, or a grindstone where people got together in the normal course of their week. In every town there was a courthouse square or a Main Street or a Church Street that seemed to bring people together. In every city there was a forum, or marketplace – or plaza – where the things that people knew converged to become common knowledge, the collective point of view. These places became the heart of the community, because of what people shared when they got together there.

More Than Stores

Seeing that The Shops at Sea Pines Center performed this service, too, we began to say “plaza” rather than “courtyard,” when we talk about the place that our shops enfold. Courtyards are for castles. A plaza is the heart of a community. We are fortunate to have grown into that role, here in the middle of the original Hilton Head Island vision, the place where America’s favorite island resort began. And we are grateful, too.