C-Scape Dune Shack
September 6 Saturday
Hello Ocean, / As a sheet underneath / thumping knees / breathing like an organ / swirling tongues / cresting white / greenhorns are broken in /
easily done in / a new one easily shown / where / one sleeps best on a / swaying ship / pumping, rippling sheets
The drive was smooth and quick, a little under six hours including the ferry ride across the Sound and a stop to pee. No need to refuel. I was still a little delirious, tired from waking early and not sleeping well the night before. Excited to have made it to Provincetown and for this to be real.
While waiting those summer months I thought I would never receive the follow up call and began thinking this place might be fake. The week before the drive a phone call came in from John who worked with the Compact. He told me he would meet me at 5PM in the parking lot at the end of Race Point Rd. past the airport.
I arrived at 1:50PM in P-town - way to early. I spoke with a ranger at the park entrance of Race Point named Dennis. I asked about places to eat along the beaches, he mentioned Far Land on the Beach at another park entrance. Dennis gave me a note that read “SEASCAPE OK -DENNIS”. He told me to present this when parking at the other entrance so I didn’t have to pay for parking. So went I went to Herring Cove, presented the note, parked, and made my way to Far Land on the Beach an eatery owned by Tom Boland who helps run the Compact and C-Scape dune shack. I made my way to the counter as I saw the sign “only cash”. Fuck. So I used the bathroom, got a little cell reception, texted the parents “Here”, got in the car - went to the Visitor Center for a map - and headed into town where they were having an classic car parade - stopped at a gas station, filled up, withdrew $80 - made my way back to Herring Cove, the downtown area wasn’t where I wanted to be.
Finally - presented “SEASCAPE OK -DENNIS” note again, same ranger as before and asked if this is “still, OK?” he said “Yes”. Parked and ordered a slider combo tuna and cod cake. Delicious. Oh and a coke. I took a walk and had a sit on the beach. Saw a naked man. Saw cute couples and old men packs listening to the radio. Around 4PM made my way back to the car. Took a brief nap in the driver’s seat. Then moved over to Race Point Beach to meet John at the bike racks. SIDENOTE: Before I left Far Land I grabbed an ice cream sandwich.
I waited for John roughly 10 minutes. and we both just looked at each other saying each others’ names as our hellos. I asked him about the area while he let loose some air from the tires in preparation for driving over the sand. As we went over the dunes in his truck he pointed out the different paths - one to the beach, the other to leased shacks (in which one was occupied by a couple in their 90s, the Chamberlains I believe), and another to the Visitor Center at Race Point Beach. He honked three times as we made the bend towards C-Scape. He honks to let you know he’s coming. Each time, as long as the shack use is in season, as he drops you off he picks up the last tenants. This time it was a couple that did a short stay for 3 days from Wednesday - Anne and her husband, I forgot his name. They were very nice and left me a few vegetables they had brought with them from their garden. John showed me how to use the agitator for the compost toilet which requires peat moss and “hates water”, then how to use the suction well, priming and pumping, not recommended for drinking and “what’s up with the old cast iron stove”.
As they left I made my way through things - emptying my pack into the shack and prepared to make dinner. I combined a pack of ramen with some vegetable soup. The soup ended being too salty. Could only eat one bowl - drinking 3 cups of water and half a chocolate bar. Built a small fire in the iron stove to read next to - took some books from the shelf in the shack - read about past residents’ thoughts and wrote a short song for the ocean.
Making my way to bed - I read a little of the Songlines - listening to the crickets. And watching the flashes of lightening in the window. I woke up a few times in the night, once was to the start of rain. I got up and closed a few windows that were soaking parts of the shack’s interior and I put out some pots to collect rain water for bathing on the porch. Then back to sleep. Another waking was a loud thud but I couldn’t figure out what it was. Finally I woke with the sun.
September 7 Sunday
Hello Ocean, / I heard you whispering / this morning / saying “HEY SEAN / gran your coffee / shit down and / make another video / about me” / And my heart said / yes.
Hello Moon, /
Evening star / You are full and block out the rest / Tonight you are brighter than the sun / your sister, brother of the sky / the land is lit under you / but all around you is dark / you are pulling all toward you / while none can deny you.
*Notes from the morning and one last impression from last night:
- Flies love wet wood.
Green and orange light pulse through the rain and fog over the dune past my bedroom window.
- “My 1980s” essay on Susan Sontag
- Vipassana - insight meditation
- Renga - linked verse Japanese poems
- “Thinking Buddhism” Breytenbach
- Peter and Anneliese Latz - “The Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord”
I woke a little past 7:30AM - I have not tried yet to rise without a sense of known time. I tried to go back to sleep but the day called. The sun in all three windows of the attic bedroom of the shack. So I made my way down from the bedroom towards the kitchen - trying not to stumble down the stairs. Deciding how to make breakfast was an interesting ordeal. Instead of using the stove inside, I decided to test the pocket rocket I brought along with the mini kettle too. I couldn’t see the flame burning but felt the heat and knew it was on. The water boiled quickly, made my rolled oats–but then had to boil another round for coffee. I might try this on the beachfront rather than in the sands directly outside the shack. Also transporting the water more easily it would be ideal After breakfast–my project was to boil the rainwater I collected from the storm. There was not much but should give me about 3 to 4 days of bathing rather than the well water. So after boiling the water and letting it cool during my second cup of coffee–I bathed naked outside with warm rainwater. That felt good! I wrote a little in the morning about yesterday. Then packed up some things for a day on the beach-camera, small towel, snacks. The path that takes you to the beach strays off the dude road and climaxes too a great height before your dissent to the beach. Generously placed at that point our beach chairs. I grabbed one and headed down. I stuck my feet in the water and realized how cold it was so I returned back to my chair to study the dune map, make some videos of the sky and recite my poem to the ocean. Then I bathed in the sun a little, ate snacks, ran back up the dunes to pee, returned, stuck my feet in the water some more, then returned my beach chair to its rightful spot and began a 1.5 mile hike down the shore line to the Race Point Beach Center. I used the bathroom there, filled my water bottle, ate a protein bar and began down the shoreline back to where I came from–this time instead of taking the loose sand near the dunes I decided to walk on the wet firm sand near the waves to absorb the ocean spray and coolness. I found the painted blue detergent container that marks my path back to C-Scape. Returned. I put away some items and place myself outside on the porch, reading salon style magazines on Buddhism and meditation while I munched on granola. I grow cold and hungry outside. Coming back in I turn on the radio and dance a little to prepare dinner. I grow a little tired of the songs and turn on NPR. I cook quinoa, open a tuna packet, dice some peppers and cherry tomatoes (the veggies are from the nice people before me). Great meal. I read a little more after and listen to the radio. The light outside dims and I race to throw on pants and a sweater it has gotten cold. First, I must use the peat moss bathroom again before I go! I’m on the beach again. Watching the sunset turning orange, navel orange, tangerine. And the rest of the sky, lavender. Packs of seals swim by and give a good look at me. I wave and smile at them. I hope none are eaten by a great white during this sunset. Back at the shack I prep for evening- light my lanterns and build a fire. I settle on the couch once the fire is built and write this- the journey of the day. Just stepped outside and saw how big and bright the full moon was. Its blocking the sight of the stars around it. I ran outside and made a quick video for the moon.
Things Noticed: *Haven’t seen any coyotes yet but I believe I have seen their shit on the trails along with their usual tracks. *Also, haven’t bared witness to the mouse either. *What it gives, it quickly takes away. *Why struggle to stay with or merely an hour ahead of the crowd when if you take the other path you may find yourself light years beyond- an original. The only way this happens is if you follow your “likes” and know, recognize your “nots”. *Standing on the shoreline- disorienting- as a wave crashes, covering your feet and you feel the wind pushing your back further in- then the wave pulls back removing the sand out from under your feet while another gears up to cover you again. *Grasshoppers sand colored jumped as I approach. The dune springs at each step.
September 8 Monday
Hello Ocean, / you sweet thang - / the way you move / does such good things / to me / I’ll see you lata
- The Materials of the Artist by Max Doerner
- Arthur Dove - A Retrospective
- “A moon’s thrist…” Centerport, Long Island (visit there)
- Bumble bee circling the deck.
- Bomber bee humming along.
I thought that I had a lot of grand visions for projects that I wanted to get done, like write about dealing with dad’s coma and the post year of getting to know the new dad but those faded quickly during the first day here. After the first day on the beach after the first long exhausting, walk along the coast. It had nothing to do with me. I am, and that is all I can know- I am simply visiting this world like the rest of us- and I must choose how I want to be in it. I also had this quaint idea I would write each day’s activities- I still might actually do that be that leaves little for reflection. Like today, Monday- Ate breakfast on the porch- read a Saul Ader book and found a book on Arthur Dove, his retrospective. I carried that thing with me all day basically- only when I went for a walk did I put it down. I sat on the beach in the early afternoon. Cleaned up the shack when I returned and gathered some kindling. Then I went for that walk- there was a split in the trail leading back to the C-Scape from the beach and I took it- and it happened to be the ranger trail back to the Race Point Visitor Center. So I went, following the bike path. Said “hello” to a stranger couple- took photos of the airport. After reaching the center I refilled my water- they said they were going to play a short film on Thoreau visiting P-town- it was short and enjoyable- simple. The words of Thoreau and images of the seashore, including some cheesy reenactment scenes of “life back then”. Then asking the ranger how long the hike is to the light house. About 4 miles round trip to Race Point Beach, thats probably close to 8 miles from and back to the shack- if over cast tomorrow I’ll try the venture- way too hot today. After returning I continued reading Arthur Dove. I forgotten how much I love his paintings and beyond that this book was doing something to me. Dove was a man that focused on becoming and being a painter. All his effort and concentration. Poverty, exhaustion, and he followed love from one to another and worshipped, standing by close friends. He also aimed in his art to strip it of the nonessentials. No references- but he was a man who loved nature, looking and interacting with it. All I saw and read was my life today in this book. It represented to me that it is possible to follow your own purpose, desires, drives while fairing well, being part of the world and inventing a place you call home. Today I finished this book while watching the sunset over the beach after dinner. Tears came to my eyes as random thoughts flooded as I stated “I am” “I am only visiting” to let those thoughts pass. And as this happened I was confronted by a color and a shape that has been familiar to me for a long time and has always remained in the back of my mind like a bookmark to finish the journey. The circle and black- the circle squeezed into the rectangle. This was a truth that was told to me “Why am I making old man paintings?” That transitioned me into abyss unknown to me. At that time I was working through so my artists, fallen under their influence, that this circle still feels and overshadows everything else I do- it returns. At this point all I can do is most likely act upon it- perhaps it is not the thing I was painting but how and why. If it returns I shall go towards it and greet it. Similar to the salt dough objects- there is curiosity and satisfaction in them.
The black circle appears like the moon eclipsing the sun. They dance together over varying landscapes.
- Iowa Writer’s Workshop
- Overlay- Lucy Lippard
- Buddhist Global Relief
- Soka Gakkai International
- Myoken-ji (temple, Houston, TX)
- ENSO RING?
*How did you get here? Sing the song of how you came to this place *singing a song backwards as you arrive home *song/poem the marrying of things around you- to locate, loci to orient yourself to your surroundings SUBJECT-OBJECT-VERB
- Dogen (Japanese poet)
- Kabuki Tanahashi
- A World w/o Armies (nonprofit)
- samue (monk’s work clothing)
- Nichiren Buddhism
September 9 Tuesday
Hello Ocean, /
I dreamed you / gave me whale’s breath / diving deep / offering / your infinite / house
- Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (teacher, books, movie about)
- Eugene Gendlin (Focusing, teacher)
- Abelardo Morell (photographer)
- Focusing Institute
how does your understanding go wider?
Started off with simple chores and breakfast - washing some clothes and preparing my bag for a long hike down the beach. The day before at the Visitor’s Center I asked about seeing the light house by foot - the ranger said it is possible - but didn’t offer any other advice. So I decided to make a go for it. Started early near 10 AM with overcast skies so it wouldn’t get too hot towards the peak of the afternoon. I stopped at Race Point Beach to resupply with water, rest and use the bathroom. So far that’s roughly 1.5-2 miles. As I go past the populated area of the beach you start to see how the tide works up against the shore - it becomes very narrow for a person to successfully navigate a foot of shore between the high dunes and crashing waves. But this was greater today, at least 30 feet of beach. So I continue - this is not an area people lay down and take in the sun - there is a lot of sea and seagull trash. Broken crabs, seaweed, human trash washed ashore, and those small silvery fish, guppies?, lying with one open dead eye. Moving along there begins channels of water that spilt the beach into barriers like scythes. On that narrow blade gulls, terns, plovers, pelicans hang out and push each other around. I found a woman video’ing them. She didn’t even look in my direction when I came towards her. No human was allowed in this first channel or on the blade for plovers and terns, they used it for nesting and mating. Further down I found a gang of gulls - this really stunk like the dead sea - gull poop, crab legs and husks, seaweed and flies. Said ‘hello’ and ib U went turbo and stretching my leg so it wouldn’t cramp up on the shifting sand. I came across another scythe, same crowd as before of sea birds chilling. The ranger said it was about 2 miles from Race Point Beach but all I could see is the curving seashore opening to more sea. Eventually a long time past the last scythe (second blade) I begin to see a vehicle and a human - I must be there, right? Only until I am right on top of these first people I see, I look to my left into shore and there is a small lighthouse. The little lighthouse that shines green and orange light into my shack’s bedroom. But to actually stand in front of the lighthouse I must move further down the beach. Finding the road that allows people and their vehicles onto the beach - plus more people. I stop to rest, eat something and check my map. It took me roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes from my shack to here - I’d say a little over 4 miles down a shifting beach. And more to come to make it back. I asked an older couple how to get to Hatches Harbor which is the closest foot path and would lead to the paved bike path (I craved this right now, solid ground). They had no idea - I told them they must have drove their vehicle through it to get to here - I asked “is it safe to take the vehicle road?” they said “yes, good luck”. So that road took me to the see the lighthouse established in the 1800s which was great to see. As you make your way from the lighthouse down the sandy road - the sand begins to turn a darker color, almost as if it was wet but contains no moisture. So I bend I pickup a few rocks - they look almost like lava rocks - I think they may be coal - but there is just too much of it in the sand and the way that it changes its color. Hmmmm, I’ll have to look it up. I take a few stones with - and continue. Eventually the sand turns it usual color, I’m avoiding to my best ability SUVs driving 5 mph with deflated tires over sand, and I happen upon what looks like a footpath that exists on my map. (As a side note, I had been following someone else’s foot prints in the sand as a guide.) I take this path which leads into the dunes but ends up being a dead end. Knowing the road leads to another road and that the network of roads isn’t that extensive I continue on the winding, ascending, descending dune road. I see Hatches Harbor and believe I’m making progress. I could see where someone tried to build a small dam because Hatches flooded the road and left those silvery dead eyed guppies everywhere. It must happen during tidal change. After that no indicators of progress until a man stops his pickup and says “my guess you’re about half way there.” I say “thanks” and continue on. It just keeps going until I get there, the paved road. No bike path, just a road. I actually was let out by Race Point Beach, not the Visitor’s Center, which totally baffled me to my delight. A little closer to home. That road was a little over 2 miles longer than the way I got to Race Point Lighthouse for sure. And like I usually do at Race Point Beach, bathroom, water refill, rest and continue. By the time I got home it 2:30pm. I rested a little than made a big dinner. Watched some of the sunset and then read The Longlines in front of a hot fire.
September 10 Wednesday
Ocean? / you were so quiet / this morning / I thought you left / Woken only by / the sun / I did not feel / your breath / in my ear / finding you have / then… / Oh… oh yes. / Hello, Ocean
- Robert Mapplethorpe “The Perfect Moment” (catalogue) (didn’t Guggenheim have a retro of his work?)
- “Overlay” by Lucy Lippard
Today was uneventful tired still from the hike yesterday. Slept in an hour or two extra. Did some laundry and took a shower - Oops! went down to the beach first right after breakfast to check out where the other shacks are located. Did that and stuck half my body in the ocean - cold and more powerful then I remembered. In order to dry off I laid out my towel. Tried to live it up with the biggest surge so I didn’t loose anything - well just as I laid down - I became the biggest surge. Covered in seaweed and little clams. I packed up everything to head back and do laundry, take a shower. I spent most of my day reading and taking a few photos for a project idea (me naked putting sun screen on). Went for a little walk came back read a little more - mostly about awareness and Buddhism. It’s definitely something I’m looking for. Greater awareness, focus, clarity. Thats what I wrote about in my grad school essay. Peter Fagundo helped define what I needed in being what I thought I needed and being a teacher. After finishing my browsing - I took out from the book shelf Robert Mapplethorpe and Michelangelo, two artists that are inseparable in my mind. Especially that Robert was friends with Patti Smith the love of my life. Reading the first essay about Robert’s work “The Perfect Moment” (same as the catalogue title) began to stir ideas, feelings, and urges in me that I haven’t had in a while, perhaps a “felt sense” put forward by Gendlin. It was a clarity of vision not in its complete sense but how to return to myself at least through making. Funny thing is I can already tell that this retreat/residency has already worked its magic. Just writing each day brings myself back into focus. For instance, the first step towards returning me to me is taking a ceramics course/class/whatever. The vision I had is similar to what I did at Peter’s apartment regarding my sister’s ceramics. It has always been about others - showing through my art how I wish to care for others - showing them how much attention I can give and would like to give but must be cautious not loose myself in another - then I begin living the other. This could also be for places - for example Jones Beach or even Ptown and this shack, this week in the dunes. IT is finally putting fragments together to create a whole which presents emotions and points in a direction. To give a picture of what this could look like lets take the C-Scape dune shack and this experience - resulting from this trip I already have videos “Hello Ocean” they go on the whole playing together. Next I have photos of me naked on the porch they too are part of it and on the wall. Next, I create some ceramics pieces that reflect time and what I saw there, they carry my hand. They are like the flecks of dark muddy green scattered on the beach - they will sit on the floor on top of a rustic rag rug of sand color. That is one example - if I break it down it is trying to create the environment or mental state that I am or was in. Breaking it down further into arrangement because content is always hard to describe when nothing has been made: WALL (videos, pictures) OBJECTS (ceramics) PEDESTALS (where ceramics sit - rustic rag rug, designed farm furniture, etched glass of ground) It is the room that is required to movement about in it. These things are meant to be human scale and personal - I can imagine a show based just on one person a portrait - lets take Hannah for example: WALL (take close photos of her face, body, details) OBJECTS (interpreted objects from around her apartment) PEDESTAL (recreate, but simplified version of her furniture) (Her music mixes playing throughout the room) When these thoughts came I was like “wow” - finally !!! I can get started !!! A huge relief that feels as if I found something that was very lost. Now it will take sometime to complete these things for all I must do is remain focused. That will take something else - requests from family to make space and respect time or perhaps there are ways to live within all this and make the essence. Pick one project first to complete. I say the C-Scape Dune Shack I am half complete minus the objects. I was gonna complain about this up coming Alumni show for Syracuse but I don’t even know if I’ve been chosen - and at this point I don’t care but I would like to return for a few days. Syracuse was special to me. Very hard to find the right words - kinda like being in this shack - simple - simply being. It is like the feeling I always got writing and reading in my bed in Italy while listening to Mozart - not content - satisfied? - there - here
September 11 Thursday
Hello Ocean / or may I call / you the Sea?
- “Dwelling in the Dunes” by Robert J. Wolfe (history of shacks)
- Patrick Ireland (Brian O’Doherty)
- 7 appears rarely in nature - refers to temporal cycles or spiritual forces
- On Kawara “I met” “I went”
- R. Mapplethorpe austere
- P.Smith serious
- F. West fun
- H. Oiticia people-oriented
- L.Clark body
- Cezanne vision
- Van Gogh precise
- Morandi black and white then color
- sparse, focused, point of concentration, confused, but used it to explore the unknown
Woke today usual time around 7 and hand my morning stuff and took an early walk on the beach before anyone else. Very low tide, the beach is a steep angle and you can start to see the stones, clams and crabs revealed at the bottom. Then I went back to the shack to finish reading a Mapplethorpe interview. The way he sees - I can see too. Not exactly the same but something is there. Between him and Patti Smith, my spirit lives there. Its okay to be influenced just know the feeling that you are doing your own thing - he also mentioned how he doesn’t want to labor over something and that the collage work he was doing in school feels academic like painting a picture. It was a reminder to know you’re time and be in it. I am so glad I ran into all these books here in the shack - it feels like this place awaits people like me - a little lost, a little miss guided, trying to find themselves. The shack finds you - all you have to do is answer. Beyond that, today, I went for a walk. My legs are infinitely soar from walking on the sand. Yet it feels good to be this exhausted. I push myself a little each da - tomorrow I will give myself a break. On my walk I did note something about the trees. The trees have adapted so they stay rooted in the shifting sand. First time I saw a tree alive laying down. Some also sprout a leg or two or three to maintain their posture. Completely down and out I arrived back home and rested a little listening to the radio and daydreaming. Around 3pm I being making dinner, eat and relax someone with a cup of coffee, go for a short walk and rest. I go eventually to see the sunset. Beautiful as always with bands of gold marking the clouds. Today was special in the way the sun fit itself down inside a cloud pocket - you almost expected it to close and night would have fallen. But it continued as always changing the band of clouds and gradientating the sky.
September 12 Friday
Hello Ocean / I must go for / now, in time / we will meet / further down / the coast / there you will / surround / embracing me / swaying in and / out / together we will / endure
My last night my last fire in this stove. As I watch my last sunset - all thoughts from the days that lie ahead fill my mind and I can feel my body tense. Then I remind my self all the work and things we stripped away while being here. Remember that. Only think about how you can bring this back with you. Before the sun fully finishes setting - you begin to see the Big Deeper appear about the horizon. That is what you need to hold onto. Even the small fear that you feel when you hear something in the sands behind you. Orion’s belt glittering in the moon’s twilight. This place has become a home and a house. It doesn’t have all the amenities or comforts but it is comforting. It is a home that is built around what you, bring and what you put into it. Not that of work or labor - but of yourself. It gives you the opportunity to see yourself again. I am. Like the crooked trees that grow out of the shifting sands - we adapt and grow extra trunks, roots, branches that help us continue to grow in the direction we need to. This week was less about Provincetown but about the ocean - it is constant, and something I have always turned towards for advice. It is my meditative object. It simply reflects you back unto you. Nothing more- nothing less. This week was about just letting myself be whoever I am - no pressure. Just being present in each step, recognizing when you stepped away from the now. And remembering it is okay to daydream. Tomorrow will be the last sunrise wake up call - I am sad to leave but happy to bring back what I’ve learned.