Primarily a writing exercise, this dream journal-inspired blog is a quiet introspective sojourn into the process that we traverse in going from private dream to public art. I see our dreaming as an internalized mythmaking. As I philosophize and expressively exhibit dreams, both private and public, I encourage and delight in creative language as a way to practice experiential metaphors through a “public dreaming." Writing Theory: Creative Dream Fiction

Monday, 5 August 2013

How to Listen to the Land: Raincoast Music and the Eye's Awakening

"Right now is the time when we wake up and start paying attention to what we are actually doing. I've always said we can do whatever we want. The question is what do we want to do. And we need a new definition of progress, you know, toward listening to scientists, and toward elegance and beauty. And so we have to get our philosophy right. What way do we want to go forward? And we need a critical mass of people who care deeply in their hearts about nature." Robert Bateman, Canadian artist from the B.C. coast sponsored by Raincoast Conservation Foundation for an Oil-Free Coast

This past weekend, I headed a block over from my apartment to grab my usual afternoon matcha. As I swung my head around to grab a coffee cup lid, my line of sight was crowded with the most peculiar, and at once familiar, beauty. Frame drums, doumbeks, and instruments of all kind, beautifully hand-crafted in the likelihood of natural aesthetics. The clouds of a waking dream parted as I stepped forward to shake the hand of the drum-maker himself. 

From Vancouver Island, Sylvan Temple Drums boasts specially crafted hand-made local woods just south of the Great Bear Rainforest. At first meeting, the key to my city's grandest music festival was gifted, unceremoniously, and with the sincerity of a true friendship. Before purchasing an absolutely gorgeous alder doumbek, I became privy to the music of such as Alabama Shakes, Thievery Corporation, Cat Empire, Caravan Palace, The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, Mamselle, Haram, and on. It was a splendid weekend. The gift of music breathed new life, and as through the wood of our country, the sound reverberated with untouchable magic into my heart and marrow. 

Such as luck would have, the serendipitous vibe of the exchange revealed the marked truth of reciprocity in nature. Human beings are mere messengers, and vessels of light and wisdom, others more naked and bright than the rest. They who are naked and bright are merely known as generous to us more gross souls. And so, in a parable of ancient China, correlative meaning ensues. 

Source: Galen Mongeau
After receiving the great gift, not as from divinity, but from the hands of a fellow man. I was moved to wonder on the spiritual nature of the harvest. In such a world as where the sense of harvest has breached sustainability to egregious excess in exploiting the natural resources of the land, where is the sane harvester of life's great gifts of creation? And from the musical instrument of the trees sings a tale of the potent harmony embedded within the forest, within the land. The land is imbued with the music of life, with the instruments of soul, art and meaning. 

When will we honour right harvesting, as in those who are traditional users of the land since time immemorial, not mere environmentalists, but as local harvesters who depend on the land for their livelihood? Whether it is in the food or the materials, in opening a doorway to family, community and inner fulfillment, our vocation, role and fulfillment is in the land, offering all a place, as a truly honest way of making each our own living. Might we see the hidden inner nature of the Earth as not only our source of physical life, but as our source of grounding and flight, as our source of reciprocal creativity, the inertia of magic and play as the source of harmony itself, as a way to growth, promise, and all our relations?

Learn More about Pipelines:

And the People Protecting Future Generations:

Also, read my Comment on on the Energy&Art debates
A pipeline twice the size of a whale. A gargantuan opening, closing the way through into an opaque, unholy void. The brackish filth of water moves as on its own under our quaking boots. And the spill seeps into the metallic soil below. The Earth shrieks, yet her voice is muted under a dense, resin helmet. Deafened by fortunes of squandered wealth, the murderous cold frays the nerves with blinding speed, and then, all there is to do is work.

Interior of an Ironworks by Godfrey Sykes 
"Give 'em yr bucket." Our manager removes our defecation pails, to be filled with drinking water for the next hour. The only change of the guards is vomit and an empty stomach. Coffee, whisky and blood. The grisly, noxious sky burns with the weight of an Earth turning on its side, looking out through grey eyes, a globular iris of naked waste. The entombed sky wretches as the darkening muck churns and writhes like a cold snake. What was once soil and groundwater, turned to the tar and feathers of the shamed petro-state of Canada.

Cottonopolis by Edward Goodall 
The pipe gargles and spews rasping smoke, as if it were a choking throat, attempting a last word before immobile onlookers. The brevity of life and death makes us motion-sick. There is a sea of greed, corruption and ignorance below these decks of metal and bone. The quiet break the loudest. And at once, as the gushing oil explodes with a merciless fire from the side of frozen metal, men are trapped behind the void. Wading in the flush of a liquid worse than sewage, the brain nauseates, overwhelmed with the job of planetary death.

In celebration of the filters of raw earth into breathable air. The track "America! America!" is inspired by the forestal creation of a hand-crafted alder doumbek from Vancouver Island, at the cusp of the Great Bear Rainforest, a place that also signifies a cusp of human civilization. So, the sound of the wooden drum, of the local land, is played in conjunction with a Maple Shakuhachi (also indicative of the local country's national tree).

The doumbek and flute seek a passage, of wind and earth, into the waters of being and becoming, towards a sense of grounding (drum) and direction (flute). The vocalization/narrative sounding muses on the exhausting reactionary sense of progress that ensues in the modern world, where people continue to consume and waste, yet there is a lack of listening, and a lack of sheer creation.

The calamity of today is not one of natural resources, it is our state of mind, and as the musical instruments of the natural world teach us, there is much to learn from the shapes and sounds within. As Chuang Tzu said, "What happened was my own collected thought encountered the hidden potential in the wood. From this live encounter came the work that you ascribe to the spirit."

This nine-poem chapbook speaks to the deformed nature of land under the warped perception of consumerist greed and a wholesale corruption of value in life, and unsurprisingly human life. The interludes speak to a frenetic base of experience in the fragmented world of manufactured waste and devastated landscapes that have become the norm, closing our minds and eyes from the truths and repercussions of our noxious way of life.

Through poetry, I affirm and re-encounter all my relations through a sense of the inner community. Creative language inspires an inward journeying to find the root and nature of mind. The place where our whole selves may firmly take root in the most fertile of soil, in the home of universal belonging, and so give back and become one with the self-regulating, self-sustained renewability of life in harmony with all of creation.

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