Friday, March 21, 2014

fundamentalrelationships, a videoem

I am lucky to live on the west side of Nashville, in a neighborhood where all the mostly ranch-style homes are backed by steep ridges that run like beef-steak marbling through the landscape. While the tops of the ridges closest to my home are technically not a part of the Conservancy proper (see the map at the Conservancy's website), they are attached to it by virtue of their undeveloped woodsiness and steep remoteness. My own property line contains a triangle of the woods, and just above it is a high ridge that if I follow it up to its highest point, connects to the "Ecological Corridor" protected not just by its elevation, but by law. If I could backpack in a boat to get me across the Cumberland River, I could hike to my favorite fishing lake, Marrowbone Lake, just northeast of Beaman Park, at the north end of the Corridor.

Geese and bobber at Lake Marrowbone

The other day, the last day of Winter, in order to get out of the house for a bit, I hiked up the back yard an onto "my" ridge. (Coming back down my neighbor caught a glimpse of me and phoned to make sure that it was me coming down "her" hill with a mandolin on my back.) I took a trash bag up, because I have for a while been bugged by the amount of beer cans and such up there. Here's the trash I collected, leaving "my" ridge now pristine and uncluttered by the man-made (unless you count the two deer hunter motion cams strapped to trees):


While I was up there, I headed over the overgrown jeep trail that leads up the top ridge north to intersect with the Conservancy and down into what I like to think of as "my" hollow, where there's a horizontal downed tree down into it a bit that serves as a perfect church pew for me to meditate and take in the relative silence. I have achieved such stillness there that I have been able to perceive the swaying of the trunks of trees 3 feet in diameter. But that day, I had packed in my mandolin, which as you will hear I don't play nearly enough these days (you can hear my licks from when I did play nearly enough on my Alaska band's live record at CDBaby. That said, I've long been experimenting with a single or double string technique with the open strings played to creating an often slightly discordant drone, and I ended up choosing a song I originally composed on a McNally Strumstick, "The Morning After," to record on my iPhone's QuickVoice app.

Walking back down toward home, I noted some natural compositions in the woods itself (there are many more), and I filmed a few of them and put together the following film. It's a little video poem. A videoem? Please enjoy:




I keep a Dropbox folder of pics I take when I walk, and you can check into it as you will at that folder's online location. Hopefully, I'll continue to explore and to note more fundamental natural relationships. I feel privileged to live in a city where some nature has been so thoughtfully protected, and I hope the deer, owls, and other critters who inhabit that Corridor and its abutting wild spaces do too.

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