it's funny how the zeitgeist thing goes.
scanning the interpixies to see "who is doing what" these days reveals that
P L A C E
is the current favourite workshop flavour.
i have fond memories of my wonderful class teacher at Shelford Girls School in grade 5, who sent us outside to randomly choose a foot square patch of ground and then
after we had made our choice
explained that we were to study it closely
write about it
count the insects walking across it
imagine ourselves to be their size
see the grass as a forest
make rubbings of it with pencil and paper
i'm pretty sure that Mrs Pownall has long gone to the dogs above
but i don't think i will ever forget her
the classroom was always filled with flowers and seeds
and bones and other assorted found things
a couple of years later my love of language was nurtured by the redoubtable Mrs Williams, a flame-haired and passionate Scot who read us poetry and made history come alive.
my father instilled in me a love of maps and wandering
while my mother had me drawing plants almost from when i could hold a pencil
i have been trying to remember the first time i offered a class that brought all these things together and i think it must have been 'mapping country' at the Kapiti Summer School of 2009
which evolved in various ways, stepping sideways into fieldwork
it works either way.
similar workshop titles are sprouting around the whirled
"where is here" and "you are here" are two that i found this morning
both with subtitles about mapping place
for me it's less about mapping, these days
and more the practice of
paying attention to where we are
finding beauty in sometimes surprising places
considering the poetics of place, even in the parking lot
and each time i offer this class
whether it's in the heart of a city
or deep in a wilderness
or somew(here) in between
i find my life wonderfully enriched by the people who join me.
T H A N K Y O U
all of you who have been on the journey with me.
i'm so grateful that you give me work.
work that i love.