Saturday, June 22, 2013

View from Ghost Nets

Back in Maine, I am meditating on how the waters I canoed in Memphis, on the Wolf River, are connected to the waters I study in the Gulf of Maine, where I live. I am thinking about how the Ghost Nets project, that restored a former town dump, is related to the goals of Fish Story, that is concerned with restoring the relationship between the uplands of the Mississippi River, the third largest watershed in the world, the Mississippi River Basin and the Gulf of Mexico, formerly,
one of the most productive estuarine systems in the world.
The story starts and ends with water. Fish are the narrators.

In Ghost Nets and Fish Story the bottom line and connecting element is always water, whether fresh or salt, particularly in the shoreline littoral zone.
I walk in the garden several times a day to take a break in my work and observe small changes. My favorite time is always twilight.
June 19, the first Agnes roses began to bloom in the East quadrant of the garden.
Throughout the process of monitoring the restoration of the Ghost Nets site, the most rewarding experiences have been about the volunteer surprises, like this Lady's Slipper in late May.
In the evening light details of the restored salt marsh seem more important than the functional results of restoration.
The uplands riparian zone is a complex pattern of paths created to study the microhabitats in various weather conditions. But they also need tending to view the relationships between plant communities.
By June 1, garden details could be followed for the interactions between varieties of life.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Body, soul and money after Fish Story

It is one month since the work for Fish Story Memphis was completed. The experience was exciting, fun, challenging and educative. It was intended as a bioregional scaling up from Ghost Nets.

As I anticipated, I came back from New York to Maine after Memphis and had a dramatic Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) collapse that has left me mostly bed ridden for the past two weeks. That hasn't prevented me from assembling a portfolio of what we produced but it has been occasionally depressing.

I went into Fish Story mindful of the challenges we face to maintain a habitable planet and the personal cost of meeting those challenges. This collapse has been the occasion for me to reconsider just how challenging and costly. It is both a logistical and spiritual challenge to consider how personal change might result in global systemic shifts. Nothing much new there, but it does make me feel better to think about the limitations of my body as a portal to world spiritual evolution.

We are just beginning to do our accounting for what was spent and what was raised to implement this phase- and it IS a phase. it is not the end product. The end product wold be bioregional ecosystem health. The fund raising was difficult and frustrating. Difficult because it took time from developing the work. Frustrating because it didn't achieve all the outcomes I'd hoped for- at least, so far. The result was that I operated at a loss during the year of implementation to get this far.

On the other hand, I gained far greater knowledge of and insight into what needs to happen next and came way with many artifacts. Those artifacts: paintings, installation elements, photographs, film, the public webcasts which I have been slowly sharing here, are like secret codes whose meaning is yet to be revealed. My first task going forward, however, is simply to accept the depth of personal difficulty and cost, which I've claimed as a model for what our future requires along with the idea of bioregionally scaling up from Ghost Nets. As I continue to recover, I will share my new knowledge here, whether wrested from the secret codes or not.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Connecting the RIver the Dots

I am pleased to share the public webcast from Fish Story Memphis from: May 11, 2013, “Connecting the River  Dots."Connecting the River Dots was performed with the artists Ruth Hardinger and Eve Andre Laramee, the curator Yvonne Senouf of MELD, Dr. Eugene Turner and myself from the Memphis College of Art, as part of Memphis Social.