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A Long Way from Home

March 9, 2012

Today is the halfway point of my stay here at Playa. All of my cohorts are leaving to go back to their lives, encumbered by jobs and responsibilities, enriched by families, friends and lovers. Suddenly the 3000 mile drive home-past the distant horizon, past the western mountains, through the central plains and the Ohio Valley and into the rolling green hills of New York- suddenly that seems like a very long distance. Suddenly I am more keenly aware of isolating power of this landscape.

This weekend I will head west instead, to Eugene, to visit Daniel and Patricia and their sons Ciaran and Aoden. They are from where I am from. We are bonded by a permanent place marker on the map. I will be going west to get a little bit of back east. It will be a good break before I settle back into what I have promised myself will be four more weeks of nose-to-the-grindstone productivity. I have so much work to do.  I have ideas about mapping, about the impossibility of conveying the vastness of the open space, about the violation of the landscape by towers and industry, ideas about how the western landscape has been romanticized with one hand and then exploited with the other. All of these ideas become the scaffolding from which I will make new artwork: works on paper, wood constructions, events on the Playa, which I will record.

My new friends are leaving for the corners of the country: Portland, Oregon, New York, San Francisco, Indiana and Arizona. I wish them all well and I hope we can continue the dialog we have started here. Replacing them will be new cohorts, which I look forward to meeting.

Last night we had final meal together. As I worked the grill outside, the full moon rose over the Playa with an intensity that I have not seen in a long time. This place has that capacity: to bring out a certain intensity. When I return next Monday I will try to ride that wave of intensity until I, too, get to return home to the people that enrich my life in ways that no landscape can ever.
Moon Rise over the Playa


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