A Walk with the Rocky Mountain Land Library

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Editor’s note; a version of the below text appeared in the May 10th Walk2Connect Co-op newsletter

See also; over at Twitter

I had the pleasure to spend May 4th walking and workshoping in Globeville, with the Rocky Mountain Land Library; a 501c3 nonprofit co-founded by Jeff Lee and Ann Marie Martin. Two long-time employees of the iconic Tattered Cover Bookstore. Their “ultimate vision is to open Buffalo Peaks Ranch as a year-round, residential retreat center and library, while hosting additional programs and outreach through our Metro Denver locations.

The Globeville location is one of three locations they have. I visited their Waterton Canyon branch on one of the early High Line Canal walks, with our own Chris Englert aka “the Walking Traveler”. Last year I visited their location on the South Platte in Fairplay, to attend Re/Call “a curated art and communal experience that celebrates the natural environment…the intersection of art and nature…the ethereal and tangible.” The Globeville branch is their current book storage/processing location. It also has a special ‘Walking and Trails’ collection/room.

Our group, led by Ann Marie, spent the first part of the morning walking along the South Platte. After foraging for ink-making feedstock, we spent the next few hours experimenting with: charcoal, terra-cotta, willow-flowers and more. Do you even know how to mordant..? I didn’t before but do now!

On our walk we encountered a rich urban ecology of flora/fauna: dicots, wild-rose and willows. Birds of prey, coyote tracks and hooded merganser ducks. We even saw signs of beaver rewilding.

As I read that day, Wendell Berry writes

“Think of the genius of the animals,

every one truly what it is:

gnat, fox, minnow, swallow, each made

of light and luminous within itself.

They know (better than we do) how

to live in the places where they live.

And so I would like to be a true

human being, dear reader – a choice

not altogether possible now.

But this is what I’m for, the side

I’m on”

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Charlotte Moorman & Iggy Pop

Discovered via an excellent, 2019 profile of Iggy in The New Yorker. Therein he describes his current preshow ritual (which takes eight or nine hours)

I wake up, cup of coffee, stay in bed, clear my mind, don’t think about the show,” he said. “I’m not going to talk to anybody about anything. Three hours before, I lie down on the floor and do something called wu chi breathing, where I breathe very deep into my gut for almost a half hour. I’m a little high, but not dizzy, and my voice has widened. Then I lightly visualize for about an hour. I hit my cues—there’s certain blocking to remember, like in a play. Maybe you find one little thing that you can improve, but you’re not desperate about it. Then I do Qigong, which loosens up my bod,” he continued. “My bod gets tight. I’m a little gnarly. Then I take a hot shower and I turn it all the way cold. And then they pick me up, and take me where I’m going, and I sit there for a couple of hours, and I realize where I am and what I’ve got to do.

re: “technological pessimism” and walking

Rosalind Williams begins by asking

How is technology implicated in the modern fall of nature? Is environmental ruin an accidental and therefore correctable by-product of technological development, or is it an inherent and inevitable result? Are we pessimistic about mistakes of technology or, in a much more fundamental way, are we pessimistic about technology itself?

She summarizes her argument

In sum. technological systems of connection both incarnate and reinforce an ideology that accords economic, political, and intellectual power to the global market, to a meritocratic elite, and to information.” and thus “Destruction of place is therefore not a regrettable side effect but a central outcome of modernity.

Then closes, by describing “the deceptively simple activity of taking a walk” which per Kevin Lynch et al., should be understood as a “potentially significant act of cognition, in which knowledge is created from the active involvement of the entire body.

Published in Science in Context 6, 2(1993)

Recently in Places

In June, Shelley Puhak reflected, on the history of and her memories of, Crofton, Maryland.

In the years I lived on his old plantation, what seeped into me? In telling this story, am I trying to scrub clean the pond of my childhood? Become the biologist in yellow coveralls, the rotenone, the reset button?

Plus, (also in June) Nate Berg explained how Berlin activists/artists ended up taking lead on a €140 million redevelopment project.

But the Initiative Haus der Statistik is coordinating a multi-track planning process among the five partner organizations and engaging constantly with the public at the showroom in the former bike store. There are weekly design workshops, and the space is open daily as a hub for information and input…During five months of design charettes and presentations, designers were on hand to make adjustments in real time…While participatory planning is new at this scale, there are signs it may be catching on across the city. In the district of Kreuzberg, the proposed redevelopment of Dragoner Areal is being shaped by a similar community-led process.

ZUsammenKUNFT workshop and public information center, September 2018. [via Initiative Haus der Statistik]

Then in July, Stacy Passmore (a landscape designer at Civitas in Denver) published some initial thoughts from her road trip through the Mountain West, studying the return of the North American beaver.

Therein we learn

When I mentioned that I was surprised to see beavers making sagebrush dams in Utah, she noted they have been known to use PVC pipes, rocks, and even beaver skulls.

She asks “Can we imagine tearing down walls and fences to live more collaboratively with other species, to let them be active landscape agents? …We need to create a new legend of interspecies cooperation, and end the pattern of dominance and subjugation.

Ultimately, the essay is an attempt to “conceptualize a messier future for landscape architecture“.

Stapleton Redevelopment on Westerley Creek, Colorado, which includes BDAs and beaver deceivers. [Stacy Passmore]

Common – Hercules ft Swizz Beatz

Related; an interview wherein Common talks about his relationship with J Dilla

We were roommates from 2004 ‘til he passed in 2006. We stayed in LA, we had this cool little apartment. He was definitely battling with a lot of his sickness, but he was a good roommate. It was incredible to wake up and hear Dilla beats. He’d always sit and watch TV, then go in there make beats. He’d be cleaning up, dusting off the speakers. He kept things all clean.