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Posts tagged ‘home’

How Close to Home are We? – A poem

How Close to Home are We?

Arms outstretched fingers sweeping an arc.
How close? Swish Swish
How close to home are we?

Cold cinders, sheepskin, sunflowers
Sweep twist stretch
Close, this close

Mark swearing on his way from the bathroom in his hat
How close to home are we?
shough, shough, shough, his knives run circuits of the kitchen

I sprawl on the sofa, face down in clover. Scraping wax from our hearth with my teeth
How close to home are we?
I bury my nose in my dog’s curly coat
Cheeks full of hot ashes and lemon peel.

-Anna Keleher

Closeness Tool and Invitation from Latir Canyon

Dear Anna,
Recently, our family took a hike up Latir Canyon, and I took with me in my back pocket the question “How close to home are we?” As we made slow progress through the overgrown trail and then found our way to a creekside picnic spot, I felt it’s presence and small shifts in my experience as a result. I did some watercolor doodles of things around me that caught my eye. The “tinkling” new green leaves of the aspens and the spiky yucca plant. Despite toddler tipping my paints, climbing on my lap and requests for lunch, and occasional sibling strife, the textures of the picnic spot began to feel closer, more familiar. So I responded with my camera phone (the documentation tool at hand) and got physically closer to them. The camera zoom and view finder expanded and honed my perceptions. What I saw through the camera seemed somehow slightly different than what was before me, more intimate than what I was seeing with my eye. The camera became a closeness tool. For the rest of our short stay in this spot and additional short hike, I worked with this tool as a texture detective and then a texture in motion collector. The images seem to beg to become a visual texture collage and the short textures in motion, a short video texture place capsule. So that is what they will become.

Will you join me(us?) in this “assignment”?

1. Take the question “How close to home are we?” with you on your next walk. (Take a couple of tools with you as well: a way to take photos, videos or collect sound, draw, write or other collection methods if you want to.) See how it feels to walk with the question.

2. Open your senses to the textures around you. Perhaps you will want to photograph them. Perhaps you will want to draw them. Perhaps you will want to describe them in writing. Perhaps you will want to video them. Perhaps you will want to record their sounds. Or?….Go for it with the time you’ve got on your walk or whatever spot you choose.

3. Look at what you collected and ask, what does this collection want to become? Don’t be afraid to edit and make choices.

4. Allow your collection to guide your next steps of editing, making, combing, combining, collating, collaging etc. As you also continue to hold the question “How close to home are we?”

5. Share what emerges from this process.

NOTE: Each of these steps could take whatever length of time you want, from seconds, to minutes to days. More is not necessarily better. You decide.

Wanna try it? I would love to see what this “assignment” brings about for you.

Are you up for proceeding in this way? As a busy mom of littles, it was nourishing for me to explore and be curious, open my senses to the world in this way on our little family adventure and do this little exercise. Despite my general abhorrence of smart phone infatuation, it was also amazing to be able use my phone for everything. So compact. So versatile. Useful tool.

Love,
Claire

P.s. I am choosing only to include this one photo from our hike so that it does not cloud/influence your experience if you do want to do this in your own home place. But I can’t wait to share when you’re ready and it’s time!

#howclosetohomearewe

How Close to Home Are We?

It’s a an interesting question, perhaps even an important question to ask anytime. Right now, half way through 2020 with billions having experienced “shelter in place,” this question is beyond relevant, it feels almost imperative. Inspired by our previous project How Far From How Are We? we (Anna and Claire) are exploring this question from our own home places of England and New Mexico.

We are taking this question with us as we go about our lives, take walks and interact with family members. We invite you to join us.

What will we find?

#howclosetohomearewe

Pilgrim Tales : Serge, Jonno and Charlie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANear Logroño the silouette of a knight pokes the air with his sword. He carries an old frame style backpack and is bent to one-side by the pendulous weight of a black plastic sack. As we approach the knight’s sword arm flies as his sword pecks up a tissue, a crisp packet, a water bottle and drop them into the bag.

“Buen Camino” says the knight.

“Buen Camino ” we reply and “Will you be dumping that outside the townhall ?” I point a finger at the litter filled black sack. “No” says the man through bushy hair and beard . “When I get to  town,  I’ll put it in a the first BIN  I see¨ he says.

This pilgrim has a pure heart.

We have been genuinely impressed by the cleanliness of the Camino since our start point in the squeaky clean northern city of Pamplona. So pilgrims doooo drop litter  after all. We are scarred but we need not worry for this pilgrim is a saint and he picks up what others have dropped.

“A clean camino is a wonderful thing.” We say! “Where are you from ?” I ask.

” I’m Serge and I’m French” says the pilgrim.

We ask as politely as its possible to ask a really nosey question ¨Are you on the Camino because you’re homeless”?

 “I have a home” says Serge, but after my first “Camino” I went back there to France and It didn’t feel right, it wasn’t for me any longer, so I came back here and made the Camino my home. I had found my MISSION !”

Holy smoke a holy litter-picking knight!! Stories travel the Camino as pilgrim currency and Serge has entered into Camino legend.

Further along the trail as we pass through a field gate near the village of Tosantos, we meet  a couple of young Laurie Lees in revolutionary beards and khaki shorts. They carry half drunk bottles of red wine and walk with sticks cut from the hedge; good companions who have met along the way and will continue together to Santiago. Jonno says he’s from Sydney  though he sounds English and Charlie says he’s a Scot though he too sounds English.

“I’m mixed up” he says.”

You must have been to boarding school then!” I say.

“No,” says Charlie,” I was brought up in Cyprus, but my parents split up and we came home”.

Charlie tells us how he has grown up with his dad’s stories of the romance of the Camino. My dad came here himself as a young man, way back in the eighties. It was different times then, fewer pilgrims, it wasn’t a tourist destination.”

He tells us how his dad and a friend had been working on a building site when over their sandwiches at lunch one day they decided it would be fun to go to the Pyrenees. They’d get there by hitching rides. Charlie’s dad had a lot of luck and arrived in just two days, but his friend wasn’t so fortunate and took ten whole days, by which time they were both out of money. The story goes that they walked up the mountain and became lost in a storm, coming down on the wrong side of the mountain into Spain.

“Are you doing the Camino?” people would ask.

There were few pilgrims back then and Charlie’s dad and his friend had such high novelty value they were Invited into the homes of old ladies to eat. And won over by the lure of hot dinners and the kindness of locals they became pilgrims and walked all the way to Santiago de Compostella. It was an experience that changed Charlie’s dad’s view of the world.

Such is the Lure of “The Camino” that when Charlie’s dad became a father he wanted to come back with his son. Now Charlie, has got the bug and tells us he is quitting his temporary job in Scotland to finish the Camino with his new friend Jonno. Before we leave these Camino adventurers we share Camino stories about the way this ancient pilgrim track lures travellers back, sometimes time and time again.  Jonno tells us he’d met a French guy who has done the Camino Pilgrim Trail twenty seven times.

So that would be Serge the litter-picker,  the frenchman with a mission!

This blogstory is one of several by Anna is writing about her experiences with Mark on the Camino de Santiago Pilgrim Trail in Northern Spain.