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land abuse and what we all can do.. and cm

updated sat 3 apr 04


primalmommy on thu 1 apr 04

Like you haven't all read enough of my blather.. a few years back this
same time of year I wrote an earthday article for my website.. like a
broken clock it's timely once a year, so here's the link:

click on "earth day". It's hopeful stuff and maybe an antidote to
feeling hopeless, which serves nothing..

elk can't own land.. folks without money can't own much... time marches
on... the rowboats full of old fishermen on the little lake where my dad
was a kid, always had the mornings and evenings to fish without
motorboat bother.. now the youngsters on jet skis don't know the rules,
buzz them as they fish. We sigh, call the coast guard. every time. the
rules are the rules. But then we just learn to tune out the buzz and the
roar, the howl of nascar at the Michigan International Speedway track a
few miles away.. the new cottages popping up in the former
muskrat-heron-kingfisher-wetland across the way... we just go about our
business, like the kingfisher and frog and 'coon...

after all, our family cottage is here.. it displaced something,
someone... trees were cleared, lawn created, a driveway put in, before
my father was born. We wrecked somebody's view, maybe the hawk's.
Because I don't remember the trees falling, I am not guilty? Because I
never met the Native Americans buried under those deep tree roots, I am
not the newcomer, the rude youngster, the hi tech future ignorant of the
way things used to be?

Around here in Ohio farmers can make more money selling off the hundred
acres to grow subdivisions than they can growing crops.. the kids and
grandkids were'nt going to stick around and farm it anyway, and the
farmers arelaughing all the way to florida to retire.. they don't want
to live in that mess.

farms and suburbs both dumping chemicals into Lake Erie and by extension
my kitchen tapwater... farmers at least to feed us, the rest just to
kill little yellow native dandelion flowers in the non-native lawn...

Do what you can to change it but then you let go of anger. Anger is a
choice. It's a tool, like Toni's chainsaw: when there's a job to be done
it helps you to do it. But then you don't want to leave it running next
to your bed all night, you're allowed to turn it off, put it down. Sleep
well, breathe, make love, make pots, choose joy anyway. It's a choice.

Even if those idiots took their noisy toys and went home, you could stay
mad for a decade about the ruts in the marsh, the change in the elk
movements. what do you win? how would it help?

we manage to enjoy a sunset despite all those com trails. We sit out in
the evening under the summer trees and don't hear the semis on the
highway, because we are listening to the wren. The wren is real, too.
The wren matters.

If you have children, grandkids, neighbors, even a dog who will sit
still and be read to, find Denise Fleming's gorgeous, artful book called
"where once there was a wood". She is my friend, lives in my town, make
the art in the book with bits of seed and weed and bark from a
meadow/forest/creek about to succumb to the bulldozers. The end page of
the book has a list of things we can all do to make our chemlawn
suburban monoculture landscapes more friendly to the critters we
displaced by our choices.

Read it to children on earth day. Show up at arbor day festivities and
plant trees. Donate to nature conservancy, arbor day foundation, heifer
project international, whoever plants trees and preserves wild places.

Kids will decide how the land is used next. Get them out from behind the
nintendo and take them camping, canoeing, fishing. They have to know the
difference between an ancient black walnut tree on an ancient, living
forest floor -- and a sterile "ornamental" suburban tree planted in a
ring of rubber surrounded by chemlawn or a walmart parking lot. Show
kids how to build a birdhouse, feed birds, know their names and songs.

THE WORLD IS RUN BY THOSE WHO SHOW UP. The only folks who would
voluntarily attend dull local city council/zoning/etc. meetings are the
ones who want to lay more asphalt or dig up a wetland. You can't read it
in the paper later and wring your hands; you have to be there, speak
truth to power, be a pain in the right person's *ss.

and if you don't vote, don't complain. Local, national. Write your
representatives. It's how we get represented.

ok, enough. Unless of course you want to go see my checklist of little
things we all could do to tread more lightly on the planet. Print it for
the fridge. Tie it to a flaming arrow and shoot it into a tree at the
ATV camp... Show it to a kid.

Kelly in Ohio
who spent half of last night cutting apart my extra/freebie NCECA march
ceramics monthly and sticking pictures of pots face down on clear
contact paper... on the back jotting down a question -- what a student
might notice in each, or might assign him/herself to try based on the
image. I used almost every pot in the magazine, and two cut-up-posters
worth to boot... left out just a few, like the pig with the boner, or
the really gruesome icky ones because i wanted to use them with my kids'
guild class as well as the adults. Left in some meduim-gruesome icky
ones though. Sandwiched the whole bunch between two pieces of contact
paper, and cut them out, laminated for protection from wet clay hands..
one folder for handbuilding, one for thrown.

My goal is to jump start brains unaccustomed to thinking past coffee
cup, bowl, vase. it is hard to drive home that you can make ANYTHING,
ANYTHING. It doesn't have to be attractive or useful, nobody has to GET
it. even you. Limitations are the enemy of imagination, and beginner
clay students have limitations enough.

That's what ceramics monthly and 500 bowls and such do for me; they
broaden my narrow definition of "what is a pot" or "what is a bowl". The
show me how deep is the deep end I never swam to, how shallow the
shallow end, and what odd fish swim all aound me. They redraw my
boundaries of what's 'too silly" or 'too frilly" or "too weird" or "to
scary" or "too obscure" or "too crunchy looking" or whatever.. makes my
possibilities broader.

My plan is never to say 'this crap kids listen to these days isn't
music' because i will know i gave up the hard work of keeping open and
keeping up. I teared up singing along to corny old "lean on me" in the
car this morning, (my era), but surf the radio stations to give us all a
taste of everything whether i like it or not. Why expect my kids to live
in my era? Same for pots. You don't have to like it, or get it. And it
may well be the pretensions of a poser or pseudo intellectual hogwash
once in a while. So?... where's your pot? The world is run by those who
submit work.

(by the way, the teens got so excited over the cover picture from the
march CM that i found them a few other versions i had "laminated".. wish
you had heard them.. "how did they make this? it looks thrown, but not.
how did they know how those drips would go? is it supposed to be water,
or... (wild guesses followed.) Which one do you like best? (discussion
...) I just stood nearby and pretended not to be listening to them.

nobody said 'what's it fer?" or "it's on the cover of CM, it must be
art" or "this is not legitimate pottery".. )

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