For those of you who follow this blog, you'll know that this summer has been a very interesting and demanding one. Not only did I have my second public gallery exhibition, ['Memory's Shadow: Pinhole & Photo Collage Photography' by yours truly, well received and reviewed btw], I also undertook a personal crusade effective of mid-July to save a new park on the Niagara Escarpment from ruin. The mis-guided introduction of three fields of artificial turf aka 'plastic grass' into what is otherwise one of the few remaining wildlife corridors in Southern Ontario is an eco-disgrace.
In many ways, it seems to me, the last minute 'development' of this parkland area since December 2009 to satisfy 'out of town' sporting interests (the PanAm Games) re-enacts a well worn 'attitude' that the dominant & domineering human culture has about 'the planet' - in general. Locally, it can be seen in the 'colonializing' intent to reshape a natural environment to fulfill the over-weening AMBITION of bureaucratic planners, designers and landscape 'architects' to IMPROVE what Nature has done well and quietly for centuries.
After publicly protesting this venture through a petition (yes, you can still vote on my previous post), and then standing up at an Environmental Hearing last week to be HEARD, we are now waiting for the Tribunal to decide this park's fate.
In many ways, it doesn't look good. Millions of dollars have been 'earmarked' for this park's development. We all know that money speaks louder then words. Even so, if anyone of 'import' IS listening, hopefully they will come to understand that what is currently being destroyed is an IRREPLACEABLE CONNECTION to THIS wholly unique land for all of US, here, in Southern Ontario.
This leads me to the topic of this post - ROOTS. They connect us to each other by blood. And they ultimately and intimately connect us to the planet in our need for water, air and land. Without them, we flounder, fail and lose our bearings. Roots are essential for personal well-being and growth.
New City Park offers us, and generations to come, a chance to re-connect to the land and our vital living roots in ways that plastic grass never can. Without REAL roots, we are lost.
Roots assist us to define, refine and become who we singularly are. We all have them. We all need them. I am 'canajun' from HERE, Southern Ontario, the Niagara Escarpment, born & bred. To destory that, to smother it with toxic non-biodegradable crude, is an insult to all living things who thrive and survive at this point on the globe. Imported 'carpets' of synthetic grass are anathema to the spirit of this place. By using this product to cover the Living Earth, we are admitting our dominating dis-respect, dis-connect and dis-regard for ALL that sustains us daily.
Giving thanks during the harvest months is the antithesis of this superior 'attitude'. Giving thanks recognizes that we ARE a part OF Nature, not apart from it. Giving thanks expresses our gratitude for ALL living things that make OUR roots to this place deep and vibrant.
One such person who embodies this 'thankfulness' is Annie B. Her family lived and farmed what will become New City Park for nearly a century. Annie grew up on this escarpment land.
When Annie learned of the proposed 'changes' to the Park, she flew in from British Colombia earlier this summer to visit, one last time, what the land had always given her. her planetary ROOTS. The following photo of her shows a little hobbit-like creature meandering through the woods ... It may mean nothing to you, but to me, this shot embodies the solace and harmony that this landscape can bring. Annie is HOME here. And for that, she is most thankful.
Further to these thoughts, I've added a few images of the paintings & general 'messing about' I've been doing at my lakeside studio this summer ... And yes, I am most blessed. I too give thanks.
May you all have a warm and fulfilling Thanksgiving with your family, friends and loved ones. Thanks be too to the natural world that has - through its Life-Giviing Bounty - given us the bedrock- and benefits - so that we may all have a FULL life ....