Walking is a Matter of Upwards
Being in the desert makes makes me think about thinking. Thinking is different here, there are physical places in the landscape to lay my thoughts. So I have been asking people I meet from other parts of the world that do not have deserts if there is something comparable, a place where one feels simultaneously alone and connected to everything, able to experience a making physical the mental state. My email friend Johanna from Sweden points to the woods as a place for being with nature, as well an archipelago that is so windy that many plants cannot grow, and either can people. And water surrounding tiny, rocky islands; the curve of the earth. Artists make works about pine trees, the ubiquitous Swedish nature form. Retreat to the woods. People need quiet places, to stop moving for a moment or two, or to move in a different directions for a while. A walk in the woods, a walk in the desert. Everett Ruess, 19 years old, wandered into the desert of Utah, alone, never to return, in 1934. A mystery. Standing still in a wild place, walking through a wild place. What happens? Participating in a process grander and older than we can comprehend.
Johanna sent me a painting of a hike in Japan up a mountain, called walking is a matter of upwards. Here it is.
Katie Bachler was our first HDTS Scout, and was in residence from 2012-2013.
The HDTS Scout Residency is dedicated to learning more about the people and places that make up our diverse and ever evolving community.
During Katie’s residency, visitors were invited to drop into the HDTS HQ, the Scout’s home base, to meet Katie, who could be found making maps, hosting conversations, and baking bread – in between her off-site adventures around town and out in the field.
Katie had a lot in store during her time here, including:
- a series of talks featuring local experts
- joining together to create a web of knowledge
- a research library and archive documenting the many spaces, places, plants, and people that make up this special region
- casual conversations with drop in visitors over tea
- site visits and field trips around town
Katie engaged the community by instigating map-making and rag-rug braiding workshops, the Scout’s Book Club, Art in the Environment classes for desert kids, casual conversations, site visits and field trips—all shared in her Scout’s blog, which serves as the foundation for her book.