Sunday, May 1, 2011

Earth Day in Chelsea and lots of other stuff

 Chelsea declared this Saturday as Earth Day and I went along to the parking lot in back of City Hall to get my green tee-shirt and decided to photograph various sites for the Chelsea Collaborative since I don't have the energy for serious, useful work. The most heroic attempt at cleaning and clearing was at this cove, near the Marina that's private... (This is in the fancy area of this small and extremely beleagured little city which is now predominantly Hispanic, Admiral's Hill, with townhouses and condos. There's a nice park where no one is allowed to lay soccer anymore. I used to scoff at anyone who lived here, but now I'm so tired of maintaining my two-family, all the snow, the garden, the roof, the oil tank, blah and blah, that I would, and maybe will, happily trade it for a condo there if I can possibly afford it which means if I can finally take the plastic off the windows because it's warm enough not to need heat and clear up enough to ask a realtor to look at it.)

These reeds were filled with endless debris, even syringes. The black bags are for garbage, nothing that might be salvaged. The white bags are for recycling. This distinction was quite heroic given the circumstances. Folks were actually stopping to try to unscrew and empty the bottles before putting them in the appropriate bag. One man, who is also part of the Community Garden, had been lobbying to get this as a clean-up site in the hope that wild life might be encouraged to re-inhabit it. It's going to take an enormous amount of work, but two hours of the heavy labor of twenty or thirty people did a bit.

One of the benefits of going around to different cleaning areas to photograph is that I got to see Mill Creek, a site that has taken twenty years and probably a lot of money,  to recover. A white heron, a gorgeous thing, was standing out in the flowing water. Two plastic bags floating on the reeds hardly disturbed the general restoration of this site. Now there's a small park for kids up the path and an area where hot dogs and non-dogs were served to all of us.

One of the things I told Elsa is that I'm tempted to outline sections in my garden and photograph the before and after. I bought clothes line at the Dollar Store and proceeded to weigh it down with bricks and take the before photographs. Then I dug out some weeds, etc., which truly showed me what an insane idea this is because I went to sleep afterwards. I don't seem to be able to do any gardening, even in small doses. My body does not like it.

The photographs of what I accomplished in the small amount of time I worked will look a lot better than these. I'll probably abandon this project.

Elsa said the idea reminded her of work done by various folks in some previous decade, I don't remember which one. But for me, it's attached to my plan to put string grids across my shelves and then write down where every object came from and what it means to me. I thought that would  make a really interesting bit of work -- photographs with extensive text. About twenty years ago.  Of course, I would never have shown it anywhere. And I didn't do it because I couldn't get the strings to look like a grid.

This project, passe as it probably is, and impossible as it will be to manage, given the size of my garden and the general mess, probably won't get done, either. But it was fun to think about.
This is the sushi lunch that Elsa art directed. I also have some nice photographs of the empty plates (we ate everything, everything ) and her paying the bill, but enough is enough.


  1. The gridded shelves project with photo documentation and extensive text sounds museum-worthy. Publication worthy. I understand when we find the body may not want to cooperate with the imagination but this idea resonates for me so...I want to know all the stories.

  2. Thank you, Marylinn. I still imagine writing all the stories about the tiny items on the two shelves of my trinkets...yet another project.