Monday, November 21, 2011

In Between

A rainbow greeted me the first day I returned to Vermont.
Since July I've been traveling back and forth between two very different world views. At first it was quite unsettling. For twenty plus years point A has been Vermont, a rural state of some 600,000. My life here is about students, technology, media, and art. It has been a driven life with much work to be done. My breathing space has always been the outdoors.
Starksboro, Vermont
Point B is Rochester, NY, a city of some 600,000. It's the place I grew up within; a city that until the 1990's was a booming technology hub much like California is now. Today Rochester is itself in between. Where once there was segregation, now there is diversity. Where once there was corporate growth, I now am witnessing decay and a rebirth. Borne of the 30 somethings and younger, entrepreneurial spirit is slowly taking apart and building back—renovating and creating Rochester anew in their image.
East Avenue, Rochester - down the block from my studio.
In Rochester I have a studio smack in the center of the metropolis, above the Rochester Contemporary gallery, down the street from the Little Theatre, quite close to the Museum of Play, the Eastman School of Music, the Memorial Art Gallery (where I fell in love with painting as a child), and surrounded by all sorts of coffee shops. There amidst the city life, I have an uncluttered studio where my focus can remain unbroken. When I leave the studio, I enter the world of city streets, freeways, and then the tumbled suburban neighborhood of my childhood. There my questions focus on my parents and our changing life vantage points.
In the studio.
When I return to Vermont, the forest calls me back. It is stick season of sorts—the time between fall's brilliance and the cold, white clarity of winter. The dogs run freely and so does my mind. Here I'm looking forward to skiing at Bolton, snowshoeing out my door and catching-up with friends.
Out my door in Jericho, Vermont.
It is getting so that I like the split personality of my life right now. It is a gift given to me by my sabbatical and one that could only be available in this age of travel. My concerns stretch between the digital, the painterly, and the familiar. My mind seems to be stretching. I realize I have no answers, only frayed threads of ideas. Our collective and individual destiny has become my reflection point.  I'm seeing life as a universe bounded and yet unbounded by time. I am no longer one age but many, I am no longer one place but many. From my peculiar vantage point it appears that family and community are our purpose. We are but individuals who come and go but family and humanity are the living being much like mycelium* is the living body of which mushrooms are a temporary flower. I am learning that it is our connection to each other, to time and to place that profoundly determine who we are and how we will be next.
Off the bike path north of Greece, NY. 
* According to Paul Stamets in his 2005 book "Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save The World" the oldest mycelium is said to be 2200 years old and 1,665 football fields in size.

1 comment:

  1. Ann, I love what you say here. "I'm seeing life as a universe bounded and yet unbounded by time. I am no longer one age but many, I am no longer one place but many."
    I also love what you say about connection and it is funny because I had started writing a reply to your "question" post the other day that carries over perfectly to this one. You were saying in your other post that we are drawn to our devices because we are drawn to things material, but I think you nailed it here - we are drawn to connections. What gives a gift meaning is not the object itself, but the thought behind it, the connection to another person. I think if we polled people about their most prized possessions, they would be the things that connected to the people and places they loved the most.