Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Spring 83: MetroParks Marathon

9:00am - 11:30am, 5:00pm - 6:30pm
overcast, cool, windy

It was a tour of the Five Rivers MetroParks System today as I tried to hone in on a performance site for July.

I started the morning at Hills and Dales, where I heard my first wood thrush of Ohio (competing with lawn mower on adjacent golf course):

Hills and Dales is a lovely, long and narrow winding park that is at times sandwiched between two golf courses. I liked being able to disappear into the ultra-green woods on the Adirondack Trail off of Hirton Road (in between peeks of golf course!)

However, the long layout, and the sound of passing traffic on adjacent roads, is not a good fit for the performance I had in mind.

Next I checked out Wesleyan MetroPark, which is located in West Dayton along Wolf Creek. It is categorized as an "urban park" and I was curious to see it.

The park is small, and has a paved trail that winds by the Creek, including an awesome view of an old railroad bridge. I could imagine dancers on that bridge. However, it doesn't have the variety of terrains I'm looking for.

Later this evening, I made my way to Cox Arboretum.

Cox is a well-known destination for Daytonians, and for good reason. The gardens and ponds are gorgeous, and there are miles of trails to explore.

My main concern is acoustic - the traffic from nearby freeways is quite audible in the entrance area of the park. It dissipates considerably as you venture further in, but I don't think I can plan a performance that necessitates a half-mile hike to get to. Or can I?

Alternately, it's been pointed out to me that the ambient traffic noise is a part of our everyday reality, so perhaps I should embrace it. That's hard for me, though. I don't hear beauty in the sound of traffic.

It's been an intense couple of days of venue-searching, and I don't like the harried way that I've been running from park to park. That's not the point of this project! Nor is it the point to burn tons of fossil fuels as I have been, driving from park to park (my ideal site would be bike-able!).

At Cox, I took a welcome sit below an arbor to reflect. The point of this project is to take time to tune into the natural world, and to carve out space for meditative listening and observation. Can I really rush my way into creating meditative work?

I resolved to figure out a way to stay true to the unhurried, patient pace that is the impetus for this project, even if it means letting go of some of my exciting ideas.

Perhaps I need to do smaller performances at a variety of sites, not just one.

I could have daily mini-performances where my violin and I interact with my environment in a deeply observational way, kind of a "chamber music" or free improvisation with the world (see June 3).

Or perhaps I could organize weekly performances, at a different park each week, with different collaborating artist/performers each time?

Good thoughts to mull over.


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