Tuesday, October 16, 2007
A Day Late
I was fully planning on being part of the action day blog, which was yesterday. Apparently, you put a paintbrush in my hand, and I forget about everything else! So I am going to post about the environment today. Better late than never, I hope.
I love the environment of this desert we live in. It is so foreign to me, having lived most of my life in mountains and hills, covered with pine trees, aspen, and juniper. There was that brief stint on Maui, but otherwise, I am a mountain girl. The desert seems so stark, at first. Yeah, it is dry. However, upon closer inspection, there is an abundance of plant and animal life here. I have only begun to get to know all of these hardy plants and critters.
On the daily walks with Pono the dog, I am slowly aquainting myself with our new surroundings. One of the disturbing things we have discovered is that for some people, the desert seems to be a giant dump. If there is a dirt road, leading off onto empty land, you will find piles of debris - old window panes, beds, disintegrating sofas, glass, tires - anything imaginable. Just two blocks away from our house I have already discovered at least 4 of these piles of trash.
I respond to them in a way that is similar to seeing a car crash. It is horrific, and yet I can't seem to tear my eyes away. I find myself moving closer, to see what comprises each pile of stuff. Being a creative person, I also wonder if I will find something that will inspire me, or something I can use to make art. The funny thing is, I really am not much good at assemblage, or found object art. I have a friend, emmet, who is really amazing at putting together things he finds in alleys, but I usually don't like what I end up with. Yet, I can't stop myself from perusing these piles.
Despite my fascination with the trash, I have to say that the desert is so much nicer when it is in a more pristine condition. On our camping adventure last week, when we stayed overnight at Cactus Flats, one of the best qualities of that place was that I saw very little trash. It still seemed quite untouched, despite the 4 wheel drive roads criss-crossing the area. It was the way I imagine Joshua Tree looked before people began developing it.
I often think that human beings have the opposite of the Midas touch. Everything we touch is destroyed. That is a severe judgement, I suppose, but when I see trash all over the place - blowing Walmart bags in the wind - it comes back to my mind. Our environment is not as resilient as we may want to believe. No matter where I have lived or travelled, I have seen piles of trash in places where I would rather not see it. I have taken up the habit of picking it up, putting it in my pack, and carrying it home with me. But I do think if each one of us made a more conscious effort to not only pick up the trash we see, but also try to produce less of it (reduce, recycle, reuse!) this problem could be tackled. Wouldn't that be cool?
I leave you with one of the paintings I worked on yesterday. It is an older painting, one from the series of 100 I did for my gallery in Colorado. Yesterday, I reworked it. It is oil on canvas, and measures 12 x 12.