Longing for the Land: Greenwood. Rock. River. Field.

by JaneFairburn on August 12, 2018

I had the pleasure of visiting David and Louise Bazett-Jones in May of 2018. They run a small organic farm in Prince Edward County, and appear in this video with Natalia Shields, the photographer for Longing for the Land. We covered many topics relating to the project, including the Bazett-Jones’s wood lot conservation efforts.

Experience binds us to the land. By this I mean not just the experience of a lifetime, but of the generations. It is subjective and collective. It is conscious and unconscious. It is known and unknown.

Land is the ultimate mirror of our experience. God is in the land. The land holds our hopes, our dreams, and even our darkest despair. Our personal mythology is reflected in the land and we seek our consolation there. It embodies what we remember, but also what we have chosen to forget. We long for the land.

Like Along the ShoreLonging For the Land: Meditations on Rural Ontario covers a lot of ground. It is a book is about place. It is autobiographical, anthropological, mythological and historical. It describes the layered Indigenous and European presence on the land, along with the points of intersection and synergies between the cultures. It contains information on ancient and modern farming practices. It describes the architectural landscape of rural Ontario. It is a guide to fall fairs. Most importantly, it considers the value of the land in relationship to that most nebulous of concepts: the human spirit. It describes the language of the land, and considers  approaches to its conservation.

Okay. So let’s state the obvious. This is going to take me a while! (Note to self: next project not to contain serious slogging over arcane, but necessary theoretical infrastructure!! In this department, I’m sending a particular note of appreciation to Michel Foucault and his discussion of the “Gaze”…). Also, suffice it to say that this is not a book I could have written at 25, 35 or even 45 years of age. A series of concentric circles in my life have brought me here, to this place.

The good news is that I’ve reached the stage with the project where I feel like the book is leading me. I’m on a roll, so to speak, so I thought I’d re-focus with a series of little videos, posts and blogs on elements of the rural Ontario landscape that take centre-stage in the project: Greenwood. Rock. River. Field. In doing so, I’m intentionally riffing off of Sir Simon Schama’s Landscape and Memory.

I’d like to thank my dear friend Judith van Bastelaar for arranging a series of interviews for me in Prince Edward County this spring, while the earth was waking up and bursting with promise. (Judith appears near the end of this video). I’m also sending a warm thank you to Rikki (Julius Reque) of Port Medway, Nova Scotia, for making sense of my crazy iPhone footage and creating this video.

Please feel free to comment widely and without restraint — I’d love to hear from you, especially about your experiences on the land.

Jane

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Annabelle, The Port Grocer August 13, 2018 at 9:11 am

Just read your first post and am already in love… want to immediately start quoting you as you have summed up so many thoughts that I could only dream of expressing in words. Sending you a virtual hug from down the road. xo A.

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JaneFairburn August 14, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Annabelle! Thanks for leaving me this kind note — looking forward to spending more time with you, on the land we both love.

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Judith van Bastelaar August 13, 2018 at 9:51 am

I’m excited for you my dear. It sounds like the train has left the stn and you are on it.

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JaneFairburn August 14, 2018 at 7:17 am

Hi Judith,
Thank you, my friend, for being so supportive of the project and so generous with your time.

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