August

“You are you even before you grow into understanding you are not anyone, worthless, not worth you. Even as your own weight insists you are here, fighting off the weight of nonexistence. And still this life parts your lids, you see you seeing your extending hand as a falling wave— I they he she we you turn only to discover the encounter to be alien to this place. Wait. The patience is in the living. Time opens out to you. The opening, between you and you, occupied, zoned for an encounter, given the histories of you and you— And always, who is this you? The start of you, each day, a presence already— Hey you—”
― Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric

Prompts: Our place, the Hudson Valley; colonized, settled with refugees, built with slave labor, stolen from natives, thriving through the centuries, later mill towns left to rot, resettled and now being gentrified by the minute. Who's place is this?  Who belongs?  Who's story is heard? How does one become native to a place? What does local mean?  What does community mean? What does it mean to be a good citizen of place?  What are our place myths and narratives that need revisiting and even retelling?

Discussion Date & Time: 8/19  3-5pm.  This will be a walking conversation co-hosted with Good Work Institute at Kites Nest in Hudson NY. RSVP recommended

***We encourage shopping these titles at your local bookstore.  Purchased here we receive a percentage as an amazon affiliate.

 

July

“Love sharpens the eye, the ear, the touch; it quickens the feet, it steadies the hand, it arms against the wet and the cold.
What we love to do, that we do well.
To know is not all; it is only half.
To love is the other half”
― John Burroughs, The Art of Seeing Things

"The ideas of tillage and worship are thus joined in culture. And these words all come from an Indo-European root meaning both "to revolve" and "to dwell." To live, to survive on the earth, to care for the soil, and to worship, all are bound at the root to the idea of a cycle."
― Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays

Prompts: Attention is the beginning of love, or as the poet Mary Oliver says, it's the beginning of devotion or worship.  How do we attend to our place?  How does the intention of our attention change our experience of our place?  What is most calling our attention in our place?  How can we create opportunity for wonderment in a culture more attached to screens than leaves of grass?  Why return to nature as guru?  What is our understanding and connection to agriculture?  What do we need to change about our relationship to agriculture in our place? What is the culture of our place?

Discussion Date & Time: 7/29  3-5pm.  This will be a walking conversation co-hosted with Good Work Institute at Woodchuck Lodge in Roxbury, NY. RSVP recommended

***We encourage shopping these titles at your local bookstore.  Purchased here we receive a percentage as an amazon affiliate.

 

June

“A path is a prior interpretation of the best way to traverse a landscape.”
― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Prompts: Thomas Cole, painter, teacher of Frederic Church, and founder of the Hudson River School created his own paints with locally sourced pigments from the Catskills.  He also imagined a theory of sound notes related to specific colors.  Frederic Church, painter, student of Cole, and perhaps most famous of the Hudson River School, designed walking and carriage trails at Olana, his home estate in Hudson, NY, noting: "I have made about 1 3/4 miles of road this season, opening entirely new and beautiful views.  I can make more and better landscapes in this way than by tampering with canvas and paint in the studio." Almost a century later artist Richard Long, walked a line--making a path and calling it art.  Today what is the role of the artist to place and place to artist?  How do the colors of a place affect the creations in a place?  How do you see a relationship between the works of Frederic Church and current Hudson Valley Artists?  Who is an artist today?  How do we recognize art today? Why is art important to our place now?

Discussion Date & Time: 6/24  3-5pm.  This will be a walking conversation co-hosted with Good Work Institute at Olana in Hudson, NY. RSVP recommended

***We encourage shopping these titles at your local bookstore.  Purchased here we receive a percentage as an amazon affiliate.

 

 

May

“When women understand that governments and religions are human inventions; that Bibles, prayer-books, catechisms, and encyclical letters are all emanations from the brains of man, they will no longer be oppressed by the injunctions that come to them with the divine authority of Thus sayeth the Lord....The bible and the church have been the greatest stumbling block in the way of women's emancipation.”― Elizabeth Cady Stanton

[Earth, I thank you]

Earth, I thank you

for the pleasure of your language

You’ve had a hard time

bringing it to me

from the ground

to grunt thru the noun

To all the way

feeling seeing smelling touching

—awareness

I am here!—Anne Spencer

Prompts: Women have challenged the dominant, male-controlled ideologies, often framing their critique with reference to values arising from the female experience. Mother Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers preached that both men and women were made in God's form, therefor possessing hermaphrodite spirits. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was so appalled by the bible's degradation of women that she re-wrote it, wishing to promote a radical liberating theology that stressed self-development. What is our current female experience as new women in the 21st century? As gender constructions loosen what new nature will emerge? What is the role of the natural world to women's nature, present and past? What nature myths have women both blossomed from and been burdened by? Does the concept of Mother Earth resonate?  How can we help the earth and our bodies heal from the toxicity of patriarchy?

Discussion Date & Time: 5/27 3pm.  This will be a walking conversation at Art Omi in Ghent, NY.  RSVP required.

***We encourage shopping these titles at your local bookstore.  Purchased here we receive a percentage as an amazon affiliate.

 

April

“I would say that there exist a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one. The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then closing the list. The pine tree, the leopard, the Platte River, and ourselves - we are at risk together, or we are on our way to a sustainable world together. We are each other's destiny.”― Mary Oliver, Upstream

Prompts: How can we cultivate an enchanted sensibility with place, in doing so, promoting the desire to live-in-love with the earth?  How does pleasure motivate land stewardship?  How can enjoyment create ethical engagement with place? How do we foster ataraxy during a crisis of democracy and environmental degradation? How do we unlearn and relearn new patterns of consumption and being ,that are regeneratable?  How does art lead a path to changing our cultural consciousness?

Discussion Date & Time: 4/29 3pm.  This will be a walking conversation at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent, NY.  RSVP required.

***We encourage shopping these titles at your local bookstore.  Purchased here we receive a percentage as an amazon affiliate.

Slow Living
By Wendy Parkins, Geoffrey Craig
 

March

"Someone will remember us I say even in another time"--Sappho, /If Not, Winter: Fragments by Sappo/ Translated by Anne Carson)

Prompts: Which voices do we follow forward?  In our greater history of humankind, which feminine voices lead us onward? In our current political climate how do you imagine non-violent protest and civil disobedience being enacted and effective? Come discuss leadership, legacies and a history of civil disobedience together. 

Discussion Date & Time: 3/25 3pm.  This will be a walking conversation at W. E. B Du Bois historic home park in Great Barrington, MA.  RSVP required.

***We encourage shopping these titles at your local bookstore.  Purchased here we receive a percentage as an amazon affiliate.

 
 

FEBRUARY

"Love is our true destiny.  We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone--we find it with another. -Thomas Merton  (all about love/bell hooks)

Prompt: Imagining love as our true destiny, explore the pluralities of love in our culture, noticing the places it exists and where it is absent.  What comes to mind?  Come discuss the politics of love together. 

Discussion Date & Time: 2/27 7pm. RSVP Here.

***We encourage shopping these titles at your local bookstore.  Purchased here we receive a percentage as an amazon affiliate.

Beloved
By Toni Morrison
Strength to Love
By Martin Luther King Jr
Surrealist Love Poems
University of Chicago Press
 
The Lover
By Marguerite Duras