This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
80 North Black Chevy Cobalt 505 to Winters 5 North sunflowers corn almonds a field burning olives Marysville Buttes, first volcanic feature rest stop 77° ADM Rice Three agribusiness firms – Cargill, Bunge and ADM – control an overwhelming 90 per cent of grain trading in the world. white oleander farms surrounded by palms, oleander, oak, eucalyptus Delevan Natural Wildlife Refuge wetlands flock of pelicans St. John’s Mountain to the west, 6,746 ft. guided goose hunts We parallel the railroad. Laura Moriarty, from The Volcano Project
If we imagine an “ecology of time” we are reminded that time is running out, has already run out, for many plants and animal species on this planet, including ones such as ourselves who live or work in coastal regions or who are otherwise fragile. Time does not seem fragile but sturdy, constant -- or not -depending on if it is your own time you are thinking about. One distinctive aspect of time, at least of human time, is its role as a commodity in global capitalism. It is not only our labor we sell to survive, it is our time. And then when we are “off” we are able to buy these things called “vacations.” One of the activities we can do on our vacation is to travel and look at features of landscape, another is to work on our book. This Conference on Ecopoetics coincides with the second beginning of a book I am writing that might be called The Volcano Project. The first beginning occurred 2 years ago when I began taking notes on a vacation in which my husband Nick Robinson and I visited several volcanoes. This book will relate to trips (vacations) taken, things seen, and texts collected. With this presentation I am beginning to define my terms and pose some of the initial questions. I am limiting myself here to three questions: “What is time?” “What is vacation?” and “What is a volcano?” First, there is some ancillary defining I must do. The word “ecology” shows up in my 80s print copy of the Oxford English Dictionary (copyright 1971) only under its original spelling, Ernst Haeckel’s 1
“oecology,” and is defined there as the branch of biology dealing with the relationship of organisms to one another and their surroundings and also as the political movement associated with the environment. There is the sense of “house” coming from the Greek root “Oikos.” [οἶκος] This house connection, for a poet of my generation, is redolent of Gary Snyder’s Earth Household, one of the first books I read when I was starting to be a writer. (It was published in 1969 and I would have read it in the early 70s, around when my OED was first printed.) The subtitle “Technical Notes & Queries to Fellow Dharma Revolutionaries” is nicely evocative of that time and possibly of this one. Looking back, I realize that Snyder’s approach relates to my current project in being a record composed during a certain period (and presented with prose) and, presumably, recomposed or at least re-presented later. This root “eco,” this “house” brings up another important term, “economy” – running a house or running the house of the world. I was about to say that one doesn’t exist without the other but doesn’t it? Are economic concerns only human? Suffice it to say, these concerns suffuse ecopoetics as well as my own project. Finally, what ecopoetics is or are is a question which I am inclined to let the conference itself answer though I might think of it as the procedures, prosody and ethics of writing in relation to living organisms and their surroundings and to that political movement. What is time? When I think of time, I picture the universe meaning stars meaning, perhaps, space which comes to the same thing at a certain point. Or I think simply of “duration.” I don’t imagine it as having anything to do with life. However, the OED goes right from Old English and Old Norse, tima and tími, to “fit or proper time” seeming to narrow it down to a kind of practical human specificity not often encountered in the philosophical and scientific approaches I have recently read on the subject. “Hour” is also mentioned as a definition and “to stretch” from Old Teutonic tí. Thus: “1. …limited stretch or space of continued existence.” Right away, in this definition, there is not enough time. There are limits. Existence itself ends. Time ends. In the OED’s 8th entry for “time” we come to the idea of the time “necessary for some purpose or time available for employment.” So there it is. Time equals money. I sell my time in order to continue my existence. Later in the definition, time becomes the rate of marching and later still as relating to interval and duration in music (or poetics.) Time can be measured by noting astronomical occurrences such as night and day or months and years or it can be measured mechanically. We often speak of mechanical time as in “the clock is ticking” or “the meter is running.” “Tick tock,” we say, as well we might. Time can be pictured, diagramed, analyzed. In a map time equals distance. Narrative mimes time. There is said to be an “arrow of time” and it only points forward unless you travel in such a way as to enter different time zones or cross an international dateline but even then your inner arrow will be (sort of) consistently pointing one way. There is much dispute over time among philosophers and scientists. During a recent trip I read a book by Peter Osborne called Politics of Time in which he noted that “The aporia of totality is irresolvable. Time remains a mystery.” Past time can be said to be history or not. There is the time of the other and a time of “being against death.” Time is time in relation to individual death or death of the species. There is filmic time and narrative time. In science there is geological time, often invoked to suggest the vast stretches of time available even on our own tiny planet, and there is astronomical time presumed to be more or less infinite. There are many kinds of human time to compare to astronomical or geological time. One of them is vacation time. Time as commodity par excellence. What is vacation?
Vacation, coming from the Latin vacare, is to be vacant, to empty or vacate, to make void. It is freedom or release from some occupation. In British English, a “vacation” is often referred to as a “holiday,” with its sense of holy days or festival days -- days when the usual rules don’t apply or new rules obtain. A vacation can be like an expedition. Expeditions are often scientific or military. The militarism that adheres to the activity of the vacation is nicely summed up by Dean MacCannell in his classic The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class : “What began as the proper activity of a hero (Alexander the Great) develops into the goal of a socially organized group (the Crusaders), into the mark of status of a whole social class (the Grand Tour of the British “gentleman”), eventually becoming universal experience.” “[U]niversal experience” here seems to mean one that is available to the presumed readers of a book like The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class -- we are talking about a very upper middle class universe, but then these are the people you see on vacation – not the only ones, but they will be there. And when you see them you wonder if you are them and about your own role in the enterprise and what effect it is having on the place you are visiting and the people and other living things who are there. It can be a complicated question. One thing about going to see volcanoes is that you can expect to have very little if any effect on them at all. What is a volcano? A volcano, and I should point out that this refers to a stratovolcano like Mt Shasta or Mt Rainier or Mt Fuji, is a more or less conical hill composed wholly or chiefly of discharged matter. (This is adapted from the OED) It communicates with the interior of the globe by a funnel or crater from which, in periods of activity, steam, gases, ashes, rocks, and frequently streams of molten material (lava) are ejected. There are other types of volcanoes (shield, composite, super etc) and they have a number of things in common. Some lines from the volcano project: The volcano is a storm in stone The volcano is an opening The volcano is a clock The volcano is an interval The volcano is mobile and excessive overflowing the limits it establishes The volcano is an abyss, a depression A moving and porous threshold It begins and ends It is a biome a village a net a node a face The volcano is replaced Yet again and suddenly by another volcano or by a lake or by another time The volcano is time Climate change can actually affect volcanoes by changing, usually shrinking, the glaciers and snowpack on their flanks. The adjustment in the weight of snow and ice might be able to augment movement in the molten material inside and beneath the volcano. Changes in rain and snow can also lead to a giant landslide or a lahar which can but doesn’t necessarily have to be caused by an eruption. Catastrophic damage can result from such an event in the communities below (including Seattle, Portland and other towns.) Volcanoes seem sturdy but are geologically fragile. It will be interesting to see what will results 3
from the “hydroshearing” (which is essentially “fracking”) of Newberry Volcano in central Oregon by AltaRock Energy. Newberry is an active shield volcano that last erupted 1500 years ago (which is yesterday in volcano time.) I hope to visit there this summer and take some notes. If, in fact, we are “dharma revolutionaries” presumably we are aware of our breath, posture and actions as well as those of the beings around us. The military term for this is “situational awareness” – “the continuous extraction of environmental information along with integration of this information with previous knowledge to form a coherent mental picture, and the end use of that mental picture in directing further perception and anticipating future need.”(from Wikipedia, Dominguez, C., Vidulich, M., Vogel, E. & McMillan, G. (1994). )We really do need this “situational awareness.” And if we have it, along with renewing the first of the Four Buddhist Precepts that “Sentient being are numberless and we vow to save them,” and we have the money, we can have the perfect vacation. Volcanic Legacy Oregon Scenic Byway Running Y Road Chain Up America Mishima Philip Glass Epilogue from Sun and Steel John Adams Hoodoo Zephyr Edge Ridge Park Varney Creek trailhead Odessa creek Campground Odessa Ranch Adopt A Highway Quilting Sisters at Rocky Point Mt McLaughlin large on the horizon Sevenmule Road Meadow from which the peak of Mount Mazama would have been visible before it collapsed around 150 BC if what we are seeing is the Crater Lake caldera which I think it is. Crater Lake 23 The usage on Oregon signs is “viewpoint “instead of the phrase “vista point” used in California Rolling Thunder Art Annie Creek Road Ponderosa Annie Falls Lunch looking at the river far below Lodgepole pine Avalanche Zone Laura Moriarty