My great passions are for archives, art, communities, cycling, the environment, history, music, philosophy, reading and how these aspects of my life mutually inform. My blog, Alive in the Sea of Information: Hard Travelin’ will reveal my love for the vernacular landscape, my hopes for man and woman kind to live sustainably with the earth, my desires for the freedom of expression for all peoples, and my attempts to strike a balance between my analog roots and my digital existence.
In “Gary Snyder and the Renewal of Oral Culture,” an essay published in A Sense of the Whole: Reading Gary Snyder’s Mountains and Rivers Without End, David Abram writes “when the aboriginal man goes walkabout, traveling along his ancestral songline, he chants the verses originally sung by his dreaming ancestor, singing the land into view as he walks through it. And in this manner, he renews not only his own life, but the very life of the land itself.” Each place has it’s story, a story of the land and the creatures native to that place and time, and those stories must be described and shared to be remembered, to remain alive. As I walk and bike short distances or travel far from home, I discover stories in the landscape and I stop and capture the moment through photography, sketching, or painting.
Alive in the Sea of Information, the title of my blog is drawn from Gary Snyder’s poem “Walking the New York Bedrock” published in the his epic Mountains and Rivers Without End. Lines from Mr. Snyder’s poem resonate with me, as I seek stories in the landscapes through which my life passes.
Was there a witness when the old lady
Sold the last bits of Washington Heights, 1701
Deep down the grates hear the watercourse
Rivers that never give up
Trill under the roadbed, over the bedrock.
A bird angles off a brownstone
Couloir that looks like a route.
And the poem’s final stanza:
As the fine dusk gleam
Lights a whole glass side
Of some forty stories
Soft liquid silver
Beautiful buildings we float in, we feed in
Foam, steel, gray
Alive in the Sea of Information.
Reviewing Mountains and Rivers Without End, in the Oyster Boy Review (an independent literary magazine published by volunteer effort in San Francisco), Thomas Rain Crowe wrote “the poems read as if he wished the language would flow off the end of his pen as does paint from a brush.” Inspirational to me, as this blog will document a painter’s encounters with words.
The blog’s subtitle, Hard Travellin’ comes from the song of the same name written by Woody Guthrie in 1940; a timeline of his life puts the song in context. Mr. Guthrie’s work has always inspired me as he sought to bring compassion and justice to the land and the peoples of the United States through his music. Lines from Mr. Guthrie’s “poem” include:
I’ve been walking that Lincoln highway, I thought you knowed
I’ve been hittin’ that 66, way down the road
Heavy load and a worried mind, lookin’ for a woman that’s hard to find,
I’ve been hittin’ some hard travelin,’ lord.
I’ve been havin’ some hard travelin,’ I thought you knowed
I’ve been havin’ some hard travelin,’ way down the road
I’ve been havin’ some hard travelin,’ hard ramblin’ hard gamblin’
I’ve been havin’ some hard travelin,’ lord.