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Posts tagged ‘geopark’
Join us in discussion with Les Brown of Cave Rescue, for musings on precognitive drawing and the momentum of a project. Also not be be missed: discussion of a porcupine in a cave and nonlinear time. (Play audio file below.)
See our previous post and related images similar topics here.
Ireland leaks people…. as well as rain. For 40 days and 40 nights we wandered the Geopark, listening to its many voices and as our van rattled away at the end of our trip, our eyes too began to leak.
Listen here to our praises for the Geopark and its cross-border homelands. (For those of you that are unfamiliar with the area, Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark is comprised of lands in both Éire and Northern Ireland.)
Curious about the bell and squeaks on this audio segment? The bell is a permanent resident in Anna’s van and the squeaks are the sound of shifting gears.
Listen here to our fears for the Geopark and decide for yourself – are our words romantic indulgence or premonition?
A very big and real threat now hangs over “our” Geopark and its beloved people, places and things. A license has been issued to the powerful mining company, Tamboran Resources, for the extraction of shale gas within the Geopark using the controversial process of “fracking.”
Far from Ireland Claire and I have been blogging away without doing anything until one day we realised that some of the most precious nature reserves are threatened along with the fresh water supply and clean air. We have written to Fermanagh Councillors with our concerns. Read our letter and the responses of individuals here – Dear Anna and Claire.
We agree with Councilor, Barry Doherty, (Sinn Fein) for Erne West when he says “We have so much natural beauty above and below the ground in this part of the world that to even contemplate fracking this area is surprising if not down right crazy.”
We join present inhabitants, organisations and councilors in demanding a moratorium on the license so that the Geopark vision keeps strong and the people, places and things of all Ireland remain vital and alive.
Map: a visual representation of an area; a symbolic depiction
highlighting relationships between elements such as objects, regions, and themes.
As you can imagine, maps were important on our DREAMING PLACE
traveling residency, in more than one way!
We often depended on them to be shown places and information by others and to navigate roadways, paths, fields, parks and estates.
We mapped our journey in sound and in drawing and in some ways on this blog. We also discussed creating interactive maps as an outcome from the residency. These maps may still be on the way….stay tuned!
But there is really something special about maps that draw on senses other than sight for their creation or perception. Here is one example……
“…Marshallese navigational charts are not like our western-style maps; fishermen didn’t use them to measure distance or count miles. Instead, they used them as memory aids, reviewing them before a journey but not bringing them along. It is said that a fishermen would study his charts, leave them behind, and then lie on his back in the canoe, the better to feel the rise and fall of the ocean swells. He interpreted the map with his body memory, not with his eyes.”
Creative ideas can be illusive. If you approach them too quickly or too directly, they may turn tail and be lost. But like wild creatures they can be lured from their hideouts if conditions are favorable, perhaps at a particular time of day by a special treat. A ritual pot of tea, a piece of music, the sound of a waterfall or a beautiful pattern.
It may be enough to go outdoors and sit on a tree stump to allow the ideas to flow. It’s exciting to consider some of the forms and patterns we observe outdoors have companion patterns inside our bodies;, the swirl on our finger tips, the filigree of veins and in the very patterns of our lives and relationships.
So enjoy your shower or walk the edge of the lough and let the bubbles rise.
These Dreaming Place audio footprints were recorded at the watery edge of Lough McNean, Marble Arch Caves Geopark.
In our wanderings through the landscapes of the Marble Arch Caves Geopark, we came across many incredible decaying homesteads, architectural remnants of abandoned dreams left to be reclaimed by plants, land, water and weather.
It is as if abandoned architecture and belongings continue
to poignantly describe the cycles of history:
“better days” along with famine, economic hardship, immigration and
the forgotten dreams of this place.
Claire has a moment of revelation beside the waters of Poll Sumera, a magical place on the lower slopes of Cuilcagh Mountain. It is here that the waters that gather in the folds of the mountain’s flanks disappear into a labrynthine network of underground rivers to re-emerge sometime later at the fabled birthplace of the famous River Shannon; Shannon Pot.
Remember this lovely springer spaniel from the beginning of our journey? It turns out that scientists agree with us that non-human dreamers, like this lovely 4-legged, have a rich dream life.
So, according to scientists (as represented on Wikipedia’s dream page), “Sleeping and dreaming are intertwined….REM sleep and the ability to dream seem to be embedded in the biology of many organisms that live on Earth. All mammals experience REM. The range of REM can be seen across species: dolphins experience minimum REM, while humans remain in the middle and the opossum and the armadillo are among the most prolific dreamers.”
Apparently there have been studies that have “observed dreaming in monkeys, dogs, cats, rats, elephants and shrews [and] ….There have also been signs of dreaming in certain birds and reptiles.
Here is another interesting twist offered on Wikipedia:
In 1954 the theta rhythm was discovered by two scientists at the University of California at Los Angeles when experimenting with rabbits, shrews, moles and rats. The theta rhythm is the oscillatory pattern of electric activity in the brain. [Interesting discovery, but the idea of experimenting on animals makes me cringe!] This discovery lead to a commentary published in 1972 that explained differences in Theta Rhythm where defined by respective animal behaviors. Awake animals showed high Theta Rhythm when behaving in ways that where crucial to their survival, for example: eating and reproducing. This apparently was a response to a changing environment. The theta rhythm occurs during REM and studies suggest it “reflected a neural process whereby information that is essential to the survival of the species” is gathered throughout the day and is “reprocessed into memory during REM sleep”. In conclusion: “dreams may reflect a memory-processing mechanism inherited from lower species”.
Some scientists argue that humans dream for the same reason other mammals do. From a Darwinian perspective dreams would have to fulfill some kind of biological requirement or provide some benefit for natural selection to take place. Antti Revonsuo, a professor at the University of Turku in Finland, claims that centuries ago dreams would prepare humans for recognizing and avoiding danger by presenting a simulation of threatening events. This threat-simulation theory was presented in 2000.
This makes sense in a way, as we humans are in fact mammals. But how, I wonder, does this theory fit into modern human dreaming patterns? If dreams served to prepare us for danger in the past, what purposes do they serve now?
If you would prefer a religious/spiritual perspective over science, here is another take:
“God sleeps in stone, breathes in plants, dreams in animals, and awakens in man”
– Hindu Proverb
Our dream of making some of the audio footage we recorded during our travels through the Marble Arch Caves Geopark into a 30-minute radio feature is becoming reality….We are hard at work on our radio show, Anna in Devon and Claire in New Mexico, listening to footage, comparing notes, editing and stringing sounds together. The show is forming roots, taking shape and growing and changing in the process, much like potatos growing underground.
Listen below to a description of ideas for DREAMING PLACE radio, as described to Ignatius Maguire during our tour of his traditional farm, his potato fields and the special pot designated for potato washing:
Since this was recorded, we have had oodles of ideas and time in front of the computer editing. We are very excited to share the results with you. We plan to post “preview” segments of the upcoming radio show here on the blog and we would love your feedback. Tell us what you think!
When the first DREAMING PLACE radio show is finished we will of course let you know when and where it will be aired so that you can tune in on your radio or via live streaming online.
We climbed in the wide branches of two famous, ancient, entwined male and female Yew trees on the Crom estate. They are reputedly the oldest Yew trees in Ireland and possibly in all of Europe. According to the National Trust website, the trees were planted in the 17th Century, but other websites proclaim the trees to be much older – as many as 800 years.
The Yew Tree is now a rarity in Ireland, but the tree still has a mythic cultural prominence. Rich in mythology, symbolism and historic and prehistoric cultural uses, Yew trees are shrouded with mystery and power. The large, majestic trees have a commanding presence, not least because all parts of the Yew tree contain poisonous alkaloids, except for the bright red arils encasing its seeds.
As we climbed, swung and perched in the grand branches of the trees, we mused about the dreams shared and the hundreds of years of history witnessed by the arboreal pair. What do Yew trees dream of? How many dreamers have taken refuge in the protection of these trees and which of their dreams were caught in the great web of their branches?
We are sure that dreams and yew trees are tied up together somehow and here is a bit of proof. Read about a Yew dream from the 1600’s “Somnium ex Eubernea porta” from Mrs. Cl., of S. here.
For more information about Yew trees visit the Ancient Yew Group at www.ancient-yew.org.
Are dreams wild?
To help us discover more about Wildness we posed the question, “What is wild?” to Martina Magee, Geopark Development Officer and Education Director for Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark.
Listen to Martina’s response here:
On the theme of WILD….During an interview with cave geologist Les Brown he spoke about WILD CAVES…..which intrigued us. He explained that Show caves such as Marble Arch Caves (Marble Arch Caves Geopark) and Kents Cavern (English Riviera Geopark) have been altered to accommodate visitors, yet wild caves remain unmodified by humans and retain their essential wild nature. Find our recent post with Les Brown here.
We dreamt our collaboration into existence with 4 legs, 2 noses and 2 x 6th sense.
During our traveling residency, we “dreamed the world” in our own collaborative image by encountering two headed animals.
A two headed, two armed kid on the ferry cavorting up on deck in spitting rain alerted us to our double headed state;
a donkey with two heads watched us pass from an emerald field,
a double yellow kayak held us in its smile,
we laughed and cried,
the twin cultures of Cavan (Eire) and Fermanagh (N.Ireland) welcomed us,
we walked a bridge linking two cultures,
we spoke and were silent,
we dreamed by day and night,
we laughed at the double entendre,
we met Geopark officers from both sides of the border,
we listened to two trees kissing,
we remembered and we forgot,
we caught the landscape gazing at its reflection,
we experimented with ancient and modern,
we followed a bifurcation,
we walked a ridge joining two borders,
we looked east and west,
we ate breakfast side by side,
we spoke and listened,
we matched-up splitting images, played at duppies, captured mirror images with our cameras while the hills reflected in the sky,
we heard the drip, drip of water as it echoed into a cave,
we dreamt double,
we learned of old and new traditions,
we drew from twin imaginations,
we did science and art,
we pedaled sister bikes,
we heard how Bridget and her dad saw two houses where there was once one and thought they were tipsy,
we learnt Gallic and English names of towns and people,
our nostrils smelled in tendem,
we followed two rivers,
we minded and not minded,
we saw through the looking glass,
we worked with dual purpose,
we dreamed up past and future lives.
The lower flanks of Cuilcagh mountain are now cosily blanketed in revived boglands rich in species who make up the ecology of this very special habitat. Incredibly, as recently as the nineties this elemental bog was endangered because of the commercial extraction of peat for fuel. It looked like a giant carpark (parking lot), a land with its skin peeled back. A lot of TLC later and these “badlands” are again home to a huge variety of wildlife.
We are not experts but the commercial rape of the land by the large turf industry seems like quite different thing from the traditional small scale harvesting of neighbourhood turf for winter fuel. This image shows the peat after it has been cut drying in the Marble Arch Caves Geopark breeze.
Funnily enough the drizzle doesn’t seem to affect the drying process too much.Turf has been burned here since the bronze age and in the Geopark, we noticed burnt mounds that look a lot like burnt peat. (The demands of blogging mean that I may not have time to check all this info so do feel free to comment and correct please.) And a turf fire, as it is called here, is surely the smell of home. Adan a young guy who farms his family homelands on Galloon Island could NOT believe we had NEVER smelled a turf fire, not ever. He simply rejected the idea, what total deprivation….
We vowed to light a real fire and found an opportunity at MacGrath’s cottage and lit one just for the craic. Our English, Valencian and New Mexican burning experiences have led us to burn mostly wood and never turf. The very idea of burning the earth itself seems strange to us. But it was the first fossil fuel.
I know that lots of you have no tradition of burning turf fuel. So here is a short explanation. Turf is peat and comes from the buildup of mosses and other vegetation where the accumulation of dead vegetation exceeds the decay. The reason this can happen is that in the wetland environment the mosses are not able to break down for lack of oxygen. The fungi and bacteria that recycle the dead mosses cannot live in this waterlogged environment and decay is halted. Gradually, gradually there is a buildup of vegetation which becomes compacted and swallows up the surface stones and features. Peat that forms in these conditions on the sides of mountains is called Blanket Bog. Lowland bogs are slightly different, but essentially the process is the same. Turf that is burnt in homes in Northern Europe have normally taken hundreds or even thousands of years to form.
Turf extraction, as we know, is not sustainable, (mostly) which is why lots of us now prefer to buy non-peat based composts.
In these Geopark lands, turf drying in the fields is still a relatively common sight; one that attracts our attention. And many families have a cut in a newly harvested field. They must go down and shift the peat once it has dried and stack it at home. Tur, as we found out, burns almost without flame and is red hot. It burns more like coal rather than wood. We stoked and blew under the turf all night trying to get some flame before we understood the error.
Drawing has a special place near the top of our now bulging dreamers toolkit! It’s fun and useful and a methodology that travels well.
Collaborative drawing is a way people can dream together. It’s also a valuable way to explore experiences, connections and ideas.
As our drawing grows our adventures deepen. Like the ancient fossilized coral reefs under our feet here at Marble Arch Caves Geopark, the nooks and cranniess created by our pens are home to interesting and unusual inhabitants. For the time we are here the rich biodiversity of our imaginations and dreams forms part of the wider Geopark ecology.
Dreams, thoughts and imaginings of people, places and things are part of the distinct ecologies of the planet.
The whole world is a drawing.