Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Art of Connectiveness - Shoalhaven, The Third Progression

I’ve written about the art of connectiveness before and came back to it because I feel ‘connectiveness’ as a word will gather strength and occupy thoughts in many people’s minds.

My proposed publication “Connections to the Earth” has been occupying my mind over the last two weeks. I prepared an outline and know the subject is relevant, but the storyline should have been told 25 years ago. It’s about 25 years (mid 1980’s) that a realisation was awakening that we humans were disconnecting with the Earth and technology and lifestyle taking us away from its bounds. We’re becoming aliens to our own planet. This trend and process has been accelerating and reaching a stage where people wherever are asking themselves “do I want to remain disconnected and have I gone too far in my disconnection?” 

“Connections to the Earth” will take a new twist. This one I propose to subtitle “Shoalhaven, The Third Progression” because the Shoalhaven on the New South Wales South Coast was my home and a land use study I completed (settlement patterns from 1797 until 1986), indicated European settlement within the Shoalhaven had evolved through three transformations or progressions.

The first progression was one of connection i.e. coming to terms with the land and being restrained by available technology. Resident’s access to Sydney was via sailing boat and steamer and the land tilled by horse and plough. Land users were self-reliant and supplied Sydney with timber, dairy products and vegetables.

The second progression was one of disconnection i.e. technology had given landowners and residents the means to leave the land or use it to its capacity. Shoalhaven became a region where service and manufacturing industries displaced rural and growth of towns and villages became dependent on Sydney for the district’s welfare. Residents lost touch with the land as provider and the land instead became something under their feet to build worlds of their making. 

The third progression was becoming aware to me as I completed the study in 1986. I termed this progression as something of rebirth and one of re connection. This process is very important for any community’s welfare, security and well-being. In the Shoalhaven’s case it became recognised when Sydneysiders (its residents) explored and discovered the Shoalhaven as a destination for recreation, environment, leisure and retirement. Shoalhaven’s beaches, bushland, scenery, rivers and relatively undeveloped coastal villages attracted Sydneysiders for weekend visitation and upon retirement, home. They were in part seeking a re connection with the Earth.

If you have any thoughts on this subject and want me to get stuck into doing the book, let me know.

Keep well, Ross

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New 2011

Happy New Year to you all and a numerologist friend said 2011 offers new beginnings, so hopefully it’s going to be a good one for us all. If we step towards new beginnings we have to leave something of our past behind and that’s difficult for some of us.

Rain and more rain seems to be the way into the New Year along the eastern half of Australia especially along the eastern seaboard and where I live at Arrawarra in New South Wales.

Personally I have been preparing the foundations to write a draft for ‘’Spirit of a Place’’. It could be a beauty as I transform myself into a person questioning and taking a journey to find spiritual harmony. Some words kept returning and these hopefully become the focus of the publication. The words are ‘’the place is the spirit’’ and ‘’ the spirit is the place’’. Have you had similar thoughts about describing your feelings when within a place which has charm, history, something of the unknown or an unique and powerful energy? It’s comforting and daunting to be within such places.

Before getting into ‘’Spirit of a Place’’ I’m off to Nowra on the New South Wales South Coast to record conversations with my sister Eula and brother Max about their relationships and memories of growing up with our father and mother. I will record conversations with my remaining two brothers, Frank and Lance and eventually draw a composition of conversations about our parents and life as children growing up in the 1940’s to 1960 periods. A time of great change in agriculture as technology changed the face of farming worldwide. Our father was a very progressive and hard working person who placed great reliance on his children to get the job done.

I’m going to call the conversations ‘’The Old Man’’ which is the name we gave Dad when we spoke about him. The story will relay rural life in Australia and that of a dairy farming family. Not forgetting the role of our mother Ellen or Nell and hopefully the conversations form a family based book which I could make available for publication. Another one! I’m a beggar for punishment. Let’s hope so.

Keep well, Ross