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Learning Log

DREAMING PLACE Daily Learning Log*

During our 40 days and 40 nights of DREAMING PLACE research at Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, we documented our experiences and realizations of both the mundane and the philosophical in the following form:

June 2nd – First stop at the Geopark, Shannon Pot
  • Potent places attract possibility, people & events and weave a web of interaction.
  • It’s always the right time to do what you want to do before you die!
June 3th – First blogging day on the project, Rushin House Caravan Park
  • Blogging can take a really really really long time to bring into being.
  • Don’t do computer work while the sun is shining.
  • The washing-up room makes a good office.
June 4th – Riding our bikes in Belcoo
  • It takes much longer to go up than down.
  • There is energy generation in gravity.
June 5th – Camping in rainy weather, Rushin House Caravan Park
  • Subtle powers can exert strong influences.
  • Rain collects on a flat surface.
  • Rain and technology do not mix.
June 6th – Marble Arch Caves Visitor
  • After being exposed to new experiences or  information allow time for percolation.
  • When setting up displays, get permission from the top.
June 7th – Exploring Pol na Sumera
(In Irish a ‘sumera‘ is a bottomless pit, which locals may have treated as supernatural and the prefix ‘poll‘ means hole.)
  • Potent places are conducive to solitary experience and revelation.
  • There is oracle potential in streams and running water.
  • Perhaps eddies in water are one of the sources for celtic symbols.
June 8th – Potholing at Cradle Cave with Dave Scott and kids
  • “Pol na gColom” means “cave of the doves”.
  • Going underground and coming out is a transformational experience (underground/overground, light/dark, day/night/, life/death)
  • Caves eat people up and spit them out.
  • Caves have pure air (low pollen count, fewer pathogens).
  • When you come out of a cave the above-ground-smells rush into your nostrils.
June 9th – Boating to Innishee from Gortatole Activity Center/Hike up on “Hanging Rock”
  • The clouds are a vital part of this landscape (and useful for weather prediction!).
  • To the surprise of some school children, girlfriends from Northern Ireland can understand boyfriends from Ireland.
  • Fluidity of movement between countries encourages fluidity of cultures and relationships across borders, but it takes a while.
June 10th – Conversation with Barb and Len at Rushin Caravan Park
  • It’s nice to talk to your neighbours.
  • Our instinct to seek comfort can become our downfall if it escalates into over-consumption and sedentary ways.
  • Pubs are conducive to getting people to participate in our “dream cloud” drawing project.
  • Pubs are the place to connect with people who can “fast dream us” into place.
June 11th – Beleek Fleadh (Irish Music Competition Day 1),
  • Time is elastic, but sometimes it snaps!
  • Red trousers from a thrift store in Belcoo can keep an evening performance lively with jokes and jibes.
  • Conversation with strangers is always informative in some way.
  • Music sounds even better with a Guinness in hand.
June 12th – Beleek Fleadh, Day 2/Dinner with Dave, Megan and Lucre’s house
  • One often feels apprehensive before swimming in cold water, but almost always happy and satisfied with the decision after one gets out.
  • The van, our tents and the places we visit constitute our “mobile dreaming studio”.
  • There are four MACs: MAC Geopark (Marble Arch Caves), MAC computers, Mac Macintyre (lovely man that we interviewed for our camping audio project), and Mac – “son of” in many Irish surnames.
June 13th – Walk at Killykeegan and Crossmurrin
  • There are actually five MACs (and probably more to come): MAC Geopark (Marble Arch Caves), MAC computers, Mac Macintyre (lovely man that we interviewed for our camping audio project), and MAC/Mc – “son of” in many Irish surnames and MAC, macintosh rain coat.
  • Being in Nature’s presence is the cure for many maladies.
  • Enter “The Nature” with ears, eyes, nose, mouth and hands open and magic will to happen.
  • Good food and good sleep are essential for a successful project.
June 14th – Cuilcagh Mountain hike with botanical enthusiasts
  • Chance meetings and encounters feed the soul of this project.
  • Wild camping is best.
  • Some plants require constant change and disturbance to germinate, thrive and survive.
June 15th – Percolation day at Killykeegan
  • Place names are good places to look for clues about past ecologies and histories of place.
  • If we waited to get permission to do everything we want to do we’d be covered in moss.
  • There are no guarantees with creativity.
June 16th – Visit to Fermanagh District Council Offices / Visit to Mountdrum
  • Beautiful and unusual things happen to strangers in a strange land – step out of the mainstream, become vulnerable and open to unfolding worlds.
  • The language of peoples, birds, animals, wind and other things all influence each other.
  • Untangling the meaning of place names is challenging because of the diversity of languages, accents, cultures. A multitude of meanings for words and words for meanings weave a complex web.
  • Human and nonhuman dreams (in the broadest sense) are part of the biodiversity of place.
June 17th – 1st Night at Knockninny Quay
  • No matter how much food one has, without water “you’re sunk.”
  • Computers and technologies can sometimes be blamed for tiredness, bad moods, wasted time, loss of focus and all sorts of ills.
June 18th – 2nd Night at Knockninny Quay
  • It’s not always necessary to seek adventure, events, people and things; they can be attracted to you (good weather definitely helps).
  • Given the opportunity, people like to talk about the things that are important to them.
  • Meeting places pop up where you least expect. They are unpredictable.
  • The “listening ear” (which we experimenting with in this project) encourages reflection and words of wisdom.
  • The destination of a pilgrimage is an important player as motivator for the journey. But often the experience of the journey itself and the people met along the way bestow wisdom and blessings on the pilgrims.
June 19th – Blogathon at Knockninny
  • There’s always another sunny day.
June 20th – Oak Tree Dreaming
  • When something is bigger than you…..and you’re in it, you become the talisman for it.
  • The place is creating experiences for us….
  • Talisman = small precious thing(s) held by big thing. When we are held by something big like a tree or a lake, we become a human talisman to the tree or the lake.
  • The places in the MAC Geopark are the guiding hands of our project. Our challenge is to recognize this guidance.
  • The human experience of time can be altered by the particular dynamic inherent in the environment of a place.
  • Experience of time is relative.
  • People, places and things have their own inherent time scales.
  • Collaboration can take many different forms.
June 21st – Drawing and Narrow Boat at Derryvore Jetty
  • You can have good craic at home around a fire
  • Dancing is a way of communicating physically.
  • There is a song in everyone waiting to come out.
June 22nd – Slow day at Crom Estate
  • Be flexible in the face of the unexpected.
  • Be open to other people’s “orbits”, but be careful not to be sucked in.
  • Don’t feel you have to give an answer to an offer right away.
June 23rd – Drawing and Bike tour of Crom Estate
  • Is there a fundamental difference between wild and domesticated – or is it all on a spectrum?
  • We’ve got questions about wilderness and domestication.
  • There is great potential in harnessing the power of the seasons (ie. collecting ice in ice houses in winter to keep things cold in summer).
  • Drawing is a form of dreaming.
  • Collaborative drawing is a way to dream together.
June 24th – Row Boat with Wayne and Louise
  • It’s interesting to experience the source of colloquialisms such as “Don’t rock the boat!” and “Keep the home fires burning.”
  • Don’t jump to conclusions – there may be another explanation for the situation at hand.
  • There may be parallels between the act of dreaming and other activities and experiences.
  • It’s easier to notice stuff and make links and notes at the moment as things arise rather than going back and having to try to remember them. (Obvious but easy to forget!)
June 25th – Visiting Castle Archdale
  • Set plans are helpful to have in place when one wakes up feeling blurry.
June 26th – Day at Giant’s Causeway
  • Sometimes a break and a change of scene is just what the doctor ordered.
June 27th – Day with Bridget and Jonty
  • Underwater snails can glide on the under-surface of water, utilizing surface tension as their platform for movement.
  • Every place we visit is thick with easy to miss or even inaccessible memories, dreams, secrets and sites almost completely reclaimed by time and nature
  • Guides and keys to access these places come in many forms. (Finding these guides and keys is what DREAMING PLACE is about.)
June 28th – Caratraw Canoing
  • In the context of time and experience, slow isn’t a rate of speed, it’s an attitude.
  • Tiredness dulls the senses and the imagination.
  • It’s possible to paddle a Canadian canoe with your eyes closed (especially if you’re not steering).
June 29th – MAC Geopark Sites near Cavan
  • Perhaps siestas were invented by a culture of dreamers who needed time during the day to sleep-dream.
  • If you don’t find  the place you’re searching for at first, don’t give up, keep going. The reward of finding what you’re looking for is sweeter after a long search.
June 30th – Meeting with Richard and outing with Shauna
  • People naturally perceive “inanimate” things as animate, but they check themselves because they’ve been taught otherwise by our mainstream, science-based culture.
  • Things, animals and places have power, but too often we choose to ignore this power and simply see them as “other” so that we can do what we want with them.
  • Empathy and a shift in perspective is what we’re interested in…..
  • We’re looking for a new dream (for us individually and for humanity as a whole), one in which we are no longer killing part of ourselves to remain on a path of constantly growing productivity.
July 1st – Canoing on Lower Lough Erne
  • The collaborative phenomena: when Claire is tired Anna is in good form and when Anna is tired Claire is in good form.
July 2nd – Moneygashel Walk with Seamus
  • Lots of work can be accomplished while relaxing in the sun.
  • You’ll learn much more about something by drawing it once, than you will by “capturing” it in dozens of photographs.
  • Tragedy or suffering doesn’t stop the world from going ’round, so hop on and celebrate the ride!
  • The day can be long…..
July 3rd – Sunday Burren Walk with Seamus
  • It’s not necessary to accept every generous offer that comes one’s way.
  • More can be less; less can be more.
  • If Martin Luther King had been speaking in Irish for his famous speech, he would likely have said, “I have an aisling!”
  • Questions play an important role in our project. Formulating questions from or for place is an important methodology in our research.
  • Asking for water is a useful tool for experiencing a place through its people.
  • Visiting places at unusual times is a good way to see places in “another light.”
  • The subtext is often as important and interesting as the text.

July 4th -Riding the Kingfisher Bike Trail from Dowra to Blacklion

  • The vulnerability of asking for things invites great kindness.
  • Hospitality is a beautiful thing.
  • Directional orientation of our horizontal position could affect dreaming outcomes.
  • Making things from materials found in the landscape is an informative way to interact with and learn about a place.
July 5th – Meeting with Martina
  • We can only try our best with human relations and communications; there is no “right” way.
  • Stretching ones brain can happen beside a lake.
July 6th – Knockninny morning listening to John McAllen/Evening Exchange
  • You can’t give a teaparty if you’ve forgotten the tea! (But you can salvage the situation if you’ve brought fresh raspberries, as they makes a lovely fresh fruit infusion.)
  • To enter through the front door is to enter as an honored guest.
July 7th – Drawing Day at Killykeeghan
  • The production of daily or semi-daily products (writing, blogs, drawing etc.) requires a good memory and a great deal of discipline and diligence.
July 8th – Drawing and Meeting with Les Brown
  • Test locks on loo doors if you prefer not to have unexpected visitors.
  • Cavers always leave estimated time of return with a “security person”, responsible for calling out cave rescue if the caving party is not back by the specified time or if the weather turns.
  • A cave that is bone dry one day can house a river the next in Fermanagh and Cavan.
July 9th – Visits with Margaret Gallagher and Ignacius McGuire
  • You can fit a lot of Japanese people into a traditional Irish Cottage.
  • When you reach out to people (especially here in Ireland!), they respond with full force offering experiences and stories galore.
  • Washing in a lake at dusk feels like an ancient ritual.
  • Asking people’s permission to draw in their home, garden or property is a great way to get to know people and provides a unique window into their place.
July 10th – Last Project Day – drawing and gift delivery
  • The supplies and kit that you bring on a journey or project shape the outcomes that form from it.
  • Experiences become concentrated and thick at the end of a visit to a place.
June 11th – Travel day to Ferry port
  • The further away we are, the more our time at MAC Geopark feels like a DREAM.

*Thanks to Rebecca Beinart for sharing the “Daily Learning Log” concept with us.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hi Anna in the blog diary for june 13th you list some Macs.what about this
    one – Mac hin?

    June 25, 2011
    • Thanks for pointing that one out. Had not clicked I am also a MAC.

      June 29, 2011
  2. MUM #

    Hey is this where you want blogs about dreaming?I associate dreams with REM ie rapid eye movements.I think that what goes on behind these are real dreams not imagiinings or daydreams. which merely share the same names,.

    July 8, 2011
  3. We welcome more responses to what DREAMING is…… what are REM dreams, why do we have them. See blog entry on dreaming ” In your Dreams – audio blog and list” July 27th… feel free to add dream phrases,words and comments.

    July 28, 2011

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