|Storyboard sketch for Blued Trees video trailer edited by Denise Petrizzo|
It was a long trip to the Blued Trees site. I headed down from Maine to New York Thursday June 18, 2015, leaving my cat, Bliss at 6:30 AM, in the care of my studio manager, Daisy Morton. I caught the 7: AM Ferry from Vinalhaven Island to the mainland, a taxi to the airport at Owl's Head, boarded a 6 seater little Cape Air plane down to Boston about 11: AM, where I took the shuttle to South Station to catch a Greyhound Bus down to Penn Station and then a taxi home to the Upper West Side. 13 hours after leaving my home in Maine, I unlocked the door to my apartment, back in Manhattan.
|Early morning in Maine June 18, 2015. This is the world I want to save with Blued Trees.|
I prepared myself for the event by making the rounds of alternative care providers to maximize my stamina to get through the weekend. There were dire warnings of Hurricane Ed hitting us hard with driving rain, floods and lightning predicted for the Sunday launch. I had already decided that this would be another opportunity to research whether CFS might model how to make efficient choices to reverse environmental degradation, regardless of the scale of the challenge. Hard weather always activates my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), leaving me extra exhausted and struggling to concentrate but I was already pretty pumped with adrenalin, even without a B12 push and a shot of a gamma globulin chaser on top of acupuncture. The night before I left, Jesse Etelson and Deanna Pindell had already sent me material from their Greek Chorus events as part of the overture.
Peekskill, I speculated, might be a confluence of "natural" gas and nuclear power that could either signal disaster or trigger awareness of the danger we are in with current energy policies.
It would be sentimental romanticism to presume that Mother Nature would make this easy. After all, the consensus amongst many is that she has been very angry with people for sometime. I thought this launch would be another example of learning to collaborate with nature rather then trying to dominate or exploit her.
Early Saturday morning I headed crosstown to catch the train from Grand Central to Peekskill. An hour later, Linda Leeds picked me up with Tania Barricklo. Tania shot a good video pan of the other side of the Hudson to the Indian Point nuclear facility and we went on to Nancy Vann's house to drop off my stuff, and take a quick look at the maps to orient ourselves between the measure I had designed, company easements and satellite imagery before heading to the site of the launch.
Videographer Denise Petrizzo drove up from the city and met us at the site about 2: PM. There were a few minutes of panic when we realized none of us at the site had Denise's number but she found us without any trouble. As we organized ourselves to begin the site examination, two cars of local residents with young families came by and asked what we were doing. We explained and they seemed delighted, promising to return the next day.
Then the four of us began walking the 1/3 mile measure to mark which trees would be painted. At first I felt very disoriented trying to jive where the trees were that needed painting with the satellite images I'd been studying for weeks. Eventually, I began to feel the pattern of logical distribution. by gauging the rhythm of our walking.
Soon, as we walked the site, the rain began in earnest. I was walking in lakes, sopping wet. Before we quit, Linda wanted to paint at least one tree, at the entrance to the site. We walked to the turn in the road that led to the site, chose a tree to make an opening note in the overture and began painting. As we worked, a tall man with a German accent jogged up and unlike the previous friendly residents, demanded we immediately stop painting. Denise turned her camera on him as he yelled at us. He screamed at Denise that she had to give him her video card, but she turned off her audio and told him he hadn't been recorded. Disarmed by our previous experience with residents, I briefly tried to explain our mission but soon saw he wouldn't be charmed or cajoled. Instead, he threatened to go to the Supreme Court to stop our work, declaiming that we were defacing nature like children making graffiti, he shouted about he authority of his opinions, exclaiming that he understood nature, what it needed and what art is and should be. We smiled and continued to paint. Eventually he left and we finished the evening's work. Both incidents with residents were heads up about what might come from a full symphony.
About 7: PM, Linda, Nancy and I went back to Nancy's to study the maps again. Denise stayed with us to shoot a bit more and then she went home to Brooklyn until 9: AM the next day.
I woke early Sunday morning to birdsong and sunshine that would segue back and forth between steamy clarity and light rain until midday and bursting with excitement. We headed to the site for the launch to meet the performers shortly before 9: AM.
To be continued. - July 4, 2015
If Blued Trees represents a paradigm of what needs to happen to change our relationships to biosystems, then part of that paradigm is accepting limitation. Two weeks after the launch, I am still recuperating from the exertion that launched the project. This tells me that efforts to create change and avert disaster costs high levels of energy investment, periods of patient rest despite the urgency of circumstances, and tolerance for and acceptance of the frustration that comes with the subsequent delays. Today I am back in Maine. It is sunny and beautiful and things are moving along, albeit a bit slower than I'd hoped.
The day of the launch, I was tremendously excited to see load after load of folks arrive from various places to participate in the painting. There was light rain but my shoes were still soaked through from the previous day. I was grateful for my $13. boots. Linda had the situation well under control, armed with water for everyone, she was soon efficiently mixing a vast vat of beautiful blue paint slurry and dispensing it in bright ultramarine buckets for the painters. We walked the site again and I double-checked the trees we had marked off to be sure they were accurate to the notes of the measure. We were joined by small waves of people, who were immediately set to work. I was delighted to welcome a cohort of Earth Guardians. I gave them all instructions as they joined us and as the morning progressed, my heart swelled with the excitement of the day: art might effect change. We could collaborate with nature to save us all. people really don't want to continue destroying the earth.
We had two confrontations. One was from a property owner along the corridor, whose land was leased to the pipeline company. The second was from our German friend from the day before, whose wife joined in screaming abuse, as they both threatened to call the police on us.
|Earth Guardians (Christian, Aidan and Sam) pose with Nancy Vann and the trees they just painted as part of the overture launch for Blued Trees.|
To be continued. - July 5, 2015