Sunday, October 10, 2010

Silent Walk Reprise in New Paltz-Thursday October 14th

As part of the Hudson Valley Artists 2010: Contemporary Art and Praxis, we are so pleased to lead a reprised Silent Walk on Thursday, October 14th, 2010.
The walk will begin at the Sojourner Truth parking lot along the Wallkill Rail Trail on Plains Road (P6 on map) at 5:00pm.
Carpooling from the Dorsky will be available at 4:45pm.
Please join us and bring a friend!

Walkers should dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes. We will walk silently along the trail south to the bridge, enjoy the view for a few minutes, and then return to the parking lot to share some refreshment. It will be dusk. Bring a flashlight if you wish. We will have some extras.

All walkers participate at their own risk.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Final Walk-Faith in What Remains

The night of May 20th offered warm sun, brilliantly blue skies and myriad hues of green that varied from near black to chartreuse. We were delighted to welcome so many first time walkers, especially those who came from far away to participate. Definitely better late than never.
For those who have joined in many walks throughout the year, we feel a special fondness. Together we have experienced this mountain, this river and all the variables of weather and people over the past twelve months. Since last June, we crunched through leaves, got lost (briefly), got wet, warmed up, broke rules, slowed down and paid attention in a new way.
The walks were an aesthetic full court press. Talk about engagement. The original questions: Who and what is nature? and Who and what makes art? are answered. Here are the closing questions: What is ephemeral? What remains? I believe an experience that develops tendrils of connection--to a moment, to a place and to a community--offers an answer.

The Silent Walks were a wonderful experience.
I am grateful to every person whose participation made them happen.
Many thanks.

Comments from the final walk follow.

entering the Quiet Zone

Wonderful spring trees.
Breeze stirring in the branches
Tall, blossoming tree.

Birds all around
Tweeting a sweet sound
But when I came back from the view,
there was no song at all.
-O. P. age 8

I like the way last year's leaves are crushes into the stones on the path.

Bleu Blanc Vert

Thank you. This was such an awesome experience on so many levels: smells, sounds, sights, the breeze, the streams. "every moment is made glorious..."- Rumi

Bring the walks to Jersey! Make 'em longer! Rock on. Dig the quiet----need more of that.

A deeper green surrounded us. The river was streaked with pale blue lines--currents, breezes, wakes, the Shawagunk escarpment distinct in the view.

Beautiful. Peace.

Feet make too much noise. I wanted to tell the birds to be silent. My camera made too much noise and flash. Follow the yellow hat. Trees! GREAT to finally make it!!

The View
Well, what can I say, I'm sad to see the Silent Walks go...but so glad to have been a part of it.
Dappled sunshine, gnats, train horns drifting up from the Hudson. Awesome!

Although my first, it was the 12th walk on the 12th night, a celebration of the fulfilled commitment to merge the boundaries of art with the cycles of nature over a year's span of time. Congratulations!

So beautiful yet so...sad. Thanks for an experience that will last for years.

thinking of the song that has the line "gonna feed my soul where the blacktop ends"

Special thanks to Diane and Martin and Odessa. You and Barbara Gioia get the most walks attended award!

We always end the walks with conversation and a bit of refreshment,
but this time, we also celebrated with a closing reception at 2 Alice's coffee house.

I cannot overstate the importance of Thom Munterich to this project. Beyond all the beautiful photographs and documentation he has provided,Thom is the only other person who has walked every walk with me. His support, both creative and logistical, has been integral to The Silent Walks. Sincerest thanks.

This mirrors the first video taken last June.

Thanks again to everyone!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The cycle is nearly complete.

Please join us on May 20th at 6pm for the final Silent Walk.
We meet at the Stone Pillars at the trail head on Mountain Road in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY. Parking is limited, so carpool if you can. We invite anyone who has walked this past year to join us for the final walk.
Help us get the word out!

The weather will be typical for May, so dress appropriately. We'll have bug spray if you want it. We have been fortunate all year, but keep in mind that the walks are postponed by one day if there is dangerous weather (lightening).

All walkers participate at their own risk.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

April's Green is Gold

Almost a year has gone by and I can't help comparing walks from either side of the solstice. In this case, April had the same light as August and even looked humid and stormy. Yet it was cool, and we were amid the new pale greens of spring. The walk had a good turn-out with many "first-timers" joining us. I am growing more reflective as this project nears completion, yet am happy that it has some afterlife--not just for me, but for those of us whose perceptions have broadened and whose sense of connection has been enhanced.
The following are comments made by this month's participants.
Thanks so much to all of you who came out!

"Such a beautiful idea and experience. We should do more things silently."

"A year has gone by so quickly. I was getting used to walking in the dark and really enjoying the challenge and drama of it! Will miss this wonderful ritual."

"Winter took a toll. I can see more clearly."

Can you see the post?

"As the seasons change, there is always beauty all around on the Silent Walks, an experience everyone should have. " (O.P. age 8 and participant in four walks so far)

" More than the view or the wonderful breeze, the trees and plants stole the show. Like Robert Frost's "nature's first green is gold" the light green leaves and golden glow are so enchanting. I'm so glad to hear that the Silent Walks may continue on past next month. I'll always be looking forward to more."
Here is the poem Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

"I was very aware of the beat of the footsteps."

"It was really good to be able to enjoy the natural beauty and silence of nature with so much company. Thank you."

"Hard to believe it could get any better than this. Plenty of new people, plenty of regulars, gentle breeze in the air and leaves in the trees. The road doesn't seem as loud as it did the first few times. Becoming more and more about the woods and less and less about the group and me."

"Lovely walk. I liked that company was sizable, but we couldn't talk. Instead, we had to listen to our surroundings and each other. Definitely meditative."

"Simply beautiful! Instead of listening to what our neighbors had to say, we were able to listen to how we felt."


"Noticed the little lone violets here and there poking up at the edge of the trail. Memories of another similar mountain. Regrets that this discovery couldn't be shared with a friend who died recently, the wonderful feel of the wind..."

"uphill. breathing heavy.
self aware.
determined not to slow down.
beautiful vista. large grand universe.
quiet downhill. slower breathing.
return to another world."

"Noticed the wind sounding like waves of noise building and crashing in the tree tops. The pattern it created on the surface of the river was the same as the ruffled silhouette of the leaves in the trees."

All visual documentation of the walk was made by our talented and dedicated photographer, Thom Munterich.

widow maker,
deer biscuit

Please join us for the LAST Silent Walk on the Half Moon on May 20th at 6pm.
Anyone who has participated in a Silent Walk over the course of the past year
is invited to the SWHM cook-out on May 22. Details to follow.

How did our entomologist come up with this sweet, humorous poem so quickly? Inspired by Robert Frost no doubt.
"Silent walk, your sound is golden!
How our senses become emboldened.
We have to see, we have to hear,
but louder still we are than deer!
We hear the wind, we hear the trees.
What a lovely idea, this idea of Jackie's."

Friday, April 16, 2010

The eleventh walk is Wednesday, April 21

Please join us at 6pm on Wednesday, April 21 for the eleventh Silent Walk on the Half Moon. We meet at 6:00pm at the trail head on Mountain Road in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY. Carpooling is recommended.
The forecast as of today is clear and cool, so dress for spring. The dark walks of winter are behind us, so leave those flashlights at home.
Come tune in to the woods and the river with us! Bring a friend.

Interested in learning more about the SWHM project? Click here.

Walkers participate at their own risk.

Common Ground--like minds coming together

Ramapo College of New Jersey is hosting a symposium on collaborations between Humans, Music, Art and Nature next week on Thursday and Friday afternoon, April 22, 23. The event, called Common Ground, was the idea of student, Emmy Black. Ben Neill, Professor of Music and several others have joined her in creating this event. I will be discussing the Silent Walks on Thursday.
The line up of speakers include artists and musicians and ecology-minded activists from the Hudson Valley and from across the country. This symposium is sure to inspire.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Wet Walk

Part of what has been so illuminating about the Silent Walks is seeing our path through the woods change with each month. Being part of the landscape when it has been annoyingly buggy and humid, to magically autumnal, to snowy and dark, to damp and cold like it was this past walk, is exactly what this project is about. Yet I understand how walking in mud and drizzle and cold isn't necessarily as appealing as pristine sunshine. Each walk has been surprisingly representative of the time of year, and March held true to that pattern. The Mud Season. Having acknowledged all that, it was remarkably beautiful.

The following are reflections from the few of us who braved the wet accompanied by photographs and video taken by the SWHM photographer, Thom Munterich.

Yes, this is the trail.

"Delightful. Try as I might, I could only find the smallest signs of spring--all the snow melt running off the mountain, the earth feels, smells moist and fertile. It's like it is a completely different place from last month. Loved it."

"Amazing soaked woods. Rich color of umber, deep yellow and the hint of red buds in the trees. Neon green moss. Branches were starting to dry, so they stood out as gray lines against the dark background. Had to step around the water that covered the path. It was light the whole time, but cloudy. I felt so relaxed, watching the ferry boat inch it's way across the river."


"Smelled damp leaves and new earth. Sound of water everywhere."

Note the stream running down the mountain in the background.

"Big deep mountain breaths in time with the swollen creek bed rumblings. Other observations: wet spring. Leaves like deep pile shag--so different from the noisy playful fall leaves. Loved the "Tree Goiter" at the bridge!!"


"So grateful to Jackie for giving me this all too brief time of quiet contemplation! It even relaxed the pain in my gut from wolfing down dinner."

Unlike the past two snowy walks, there were plenty of signs that people had been here, and I don't mean beer bottles this time.

Druids or hikers? You decide. It's not Micheal Graham though, because it doesn't have his trademark round rock at the top. Some of his beautiful cairns are off Deer Trail Road. If you look closely, you can see a new house being built on the far hillside. Wasn't there last fall.

Our tree spider, now in spring.

A rare dry spot in the path.

Please join us next month on April 21st, the day before Earth Day.
Share the experience with a friend!