A Tree Story
On Your Desk

Custodians of Place and Memory

Standing Stone by Helen Mason

"When we change the shape of the Land, we alter the contents and contexts of our collective, familial, and personal memories. Yet, stories can preserve both mythic and familiar elements of geography even when the physical features are forgotten, buried, or obliterated. And more than this: the stories can bring these elements back. If the Land can be preserved long enough for its stories to be told, and retold, perhaps we all — as custodians of both place and memory — stand a chance at real preservation."    - Ari Berk

At the crossroadsPhotos: (top) "Standing Stone on Dartmoor" by Helen Mason; (bottom) "At the Crossroads"

I met my old friend and brother-in-spirit William Todd-Jones for coffee in the village yesterday, and we were talking about how so much of the world we grew up in has vanished...except in our memories and in our art. (We were born within a week of each other, Todd in Wales and me on the east coast of the US.)

It reminded me of the quote above by Ari (who lives in Michigan but spends a lot of time with us here on Dartmoor too), and the standing stone photograph by Helen (who is also an honorary Dartmoorian, despite living in London). The second photograph, which I snapped earlier this week, represents the crossroad in time where we're all standing now, making decisions about the planet's future that will effect our children's children's children. And for me, personally, there's symbolic significance in the fact that the signpost points towards my beloved Dartmoor village, where I root my life and art; and that it points to a footpath, not a tarmacked road: to life lived at a slower, less mechanical pace.

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