Private Transportation

I drive.trail 2

My daily journey can be described with insane numbers: in hours and minutes, in miles (both horizontal and vertical), in gallons, in dollars and cents.

Or I could describe the landscape I travel though by the immeasurable sanity it does bring me.  As I travel through the landscape, I am curious about the history of the rock formations.  I am in awe with the daily sunrises and sunsets.  I learn the colors that create each season.  I stare at the blooming Lupine.  I anticipate the return every spring of the pair of nesting eagles.  I have nicknames for places like ”stegosaurus rock” and “llama lookout”.  I am surprised by the distance I can see as I crest the hill.  I am saddened at the road kill,  but delighted by the daring antics of the magpies trying to have their next meal.  I feel lost and disoriented in the nightly snowstorms.  I am guided home in the winter by the big dipper.  Sometimes I don’t even pay attention, and just listen to my own thoughts.  Somedays I just want the journey to end.  But I want to introduce this place to others…..

Sounds like I’m in a relationship.

As a landscape architect I ask myself, how long does it take? What do I have to experience, or see or do to understand the land so that I may build on it, regenerate it, reinterpret it, express it, expose it, or simply live with it?  How do we create a relationship with the land? And why is that important?….Questions our ancestors could probably answer.

I do know that spending time within a landscape, becoming familiar but always in awe, trying to understand the patterns and cycles, what it accepts or rejects, the resilience and the tenderness, the answers and the questions, all add something immeasurable to my life.

See what happens when you go outside with an awareness of the surroundings, looking closely without an agenda, without an ipod, and without a watch.

Then do it again.

5 Comments

  1. I recently listened to an interview of Sufjan Stevens about his movie and score based on the traffic of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (the BQE). His process for getting to know his subject landscape – by spending nine months on and around the BQE – directly correlates to our ideal of understanding a place and letting that inform our creative process. Download the interview at NPR’s web site.

  2. Stephanie…every morning when I walk with the dog, in early hours before sunrise, with stars and moon still silhouetting the earth, the distant mountains’ familiar shapes and neighborhood paths winding ’round amidst the grasses, trees and rocks, listening to the quiet, and taking in the smells and sights of nature all around…I also try to learn and understand my own small world. You and others like you, have such wonderful talents and creativity to impress upon the land. Those of us who don’t, are blessed with just being able to appreciate all you do. Thank you.

  3. Michael Sorkin’s new book is: Twenty Minutes in Manhattan. It is about the walk from his apartment in Greenwich Village to his studio in Tribeca which takes about twenty minutes, depending upon the route and whether he stops for a coffee and the Times. Invariable, though, it begins with a trip down the stairs.

  4. My daily journey is measured in the number of paces I walk or the turns of the pedals on my turquoise blue cruiser bike. Some days I make that journey in a mindful way aware of the softness of the crusher fine path as I wind through the park adjacent to my home, witnessing the daily rhythms of our small town life and yet on other days I travel that distance with little awareness as my mind races from one worry to the next. Your entry is a beautiful reminder that no matter how long the journey there is always an opportunity to connect and be aware of our surroundings. In Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, Peace is Every Step – The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, there is an entry on Driving Meditation which speaks to the opportunity for conscious thought while traveling in the car.

  5. This is a nice reminder that the journey is such an important part of being alive. How many times has a challenge our minds found an answer mysteriously in that meditative state of the journey? How many meaningful conversations have occurred on-route?

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