Chatham’s South Beach Shrine

We walk along an outermost spot – one of those remote and seemingly isolated spaces that exist scant miles from the 216,000 residents of Cape Cod. This, Chatham’s South Beach, is a breathtaking expanse of shoreline watched over by the famed Chatham Lighthouse and, more recently, Great Whites.

It looks different than the first time I saw it years ago, but such is the fate of the outer shore of the Cape—its profile forever carved by the ebb and flow of the Atlantic and her whims (and whorls).

On this visit, there is more water, less beach, the walk from the upper parking lot down to the shore is noticeably shorter. And still, the fishing boats pass, the seals bob, a kite soars, a dog wanders. In the distance, you cannot miss the distinct and dramatic sound of the ocean surf pounding against what remains of “the bar”—the last vestige of calm before the deep and wild beyond.

These days, a quarter-mile walk down the beach brings you to the South Beach Shrine, a makeshift homage to all things flotsam and jetsam. The literal “what we leave behind.”

It is many things, this shrine — part protest and part art project, part community rallying cry and part curiosity. Its irony reminds me of Prada Marfa, its whimsy like a roadside attraction, its message disheartening. Thankfully, it is big and bold enough to hold all of our interpretations, and strong enough to withstand the ever-changing landscape of coast and culture.

 

Story and Photos ©2017, Jen Payne. For more, see Occupy Chatham South Beach on Facebook.

NOW ON SALE: Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, a collection of poetry and photographs illustrating how changing the world begins with you and me.

A Way with Words: Payne Pens Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind

By Pam Johnson, Senior Staff Writer, Shore Publishing

No doubt about it, Jen Payne has a way with words. From her volunteer “pet project” as web designer for the Branford Land Trust (BLT) website for nearly 20 years to her newest book, Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, the Branford author and artist brings together words and images to champion the natural world and remind us of what she terms “our divine and innate connection with nature.” The book also provides telling social commentary and photos showing “evidence” warning of a growing disregard for nature’s gifts and for each other. (Read More)

Nuisance Species

There was an over-population they said

current world population 7,482,331,668

such overabundance can lead to excessive noise

there is absolutely no place on Earth that is completely free from human sound all of the time

and an increased risk of disease

incidence of common cold: 62 million cases per year

DRC-1339 was the antidote,
causing the congestion of major organs
a slow, 12-72 hour “nonviolent” death

but it sounded violent
thud, thud, thud

and it looked violent
dead birds dropping from trees

a galaxy of feathers
shimmering on the pavement
iridescent in the afternoon sun

It’s OK, said the nice man from the USDA, smiling
It’s not harmful to humans…

Just the star-lings
in flight, celestial
their cosmic communal dance,
the breathtaking murmurations
of a species that
communicates
cooperates
connects

But any dead bird can be picked up and thrown in the trash,
just remember to use disposable gloves or plastic bags.

Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide.

Plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.

One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.

“We recommend…that improved baits and baiting strategies be developed to reduce [such] nuisance populations.”— Managing Vertebrate Invasive Species, National Wildlife Research Center, 2007


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1Q-EbX6dso


POEM ©2017, Jen Payne. PHOTO by Tim Felce (Airwolfhound). SOURCES: Worldometers.info; The last place on Earth without human noise, by Rachel Nuwer, BBC; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Center for Disease Control; Journal of Wildlife Management; “Dead birds dropping from a tree in West Springfield causes community unrest,” WGGB/WSHM; Audubon Field Guide; “Starlings,” A Passion for Nature by Jennifer Schlick (https://winterwoman.net/2011/01/29/starlings); Wikipedia; “The Controversy Over Controlled Poisoning Of Starlings ,Here and Now; “22 Facts About Plastic Pollution,” EcoWatch (http://www.ecowatch.com/22-facts-about-plastic-pollution-and-10-things-we-can-do-about-it-1881885971.html); National Wildlife Research Center.

Random Acts: Irmela Schramm

“I’m really concerned by this hate propaganda. And I want to take a stand.…Not just hollow words. But to do something. I could look at that swastika and “Nazi Kiez” graffiti and say ‘oh, that’s awful’ and walk by. But no one would dare to do anything. Well, I don’t want to wait for someone else to do something about it.” — Irmela Schramm

raw-heart-purpleCommit Random Acts of Writing + Art. See “Grandmother uses graffiti to fight hate.”

Dear World, we’re sorry and we hope you’ll endure these days with us.

“We want you to know that this is not who we are. It may be who this man is. It may be who those sharing power with him are. It may even be the tens of millions who originally voted for him…. But this is not America. It is not the steady, strong beacon of freedom that it was intended to be. It is not the America our people have fought and died for. It is not the one first formed in the crucible of oppression and cast into the words of our ever-disregarded Constitution. This is not our America. Our America affirms the inherent, priceless beauty of every human being. Our America declares that no person is ascribed less value because of their skin color, religion, gender, financial means, sexual orientation, nation of origin, or any other variable. Our America is home for those seeking hope and joy and rest.” – John Pavlovitz

READ THE FULL POST
Dear World, From America
by John Pavlovitz

IMAGE: Flag, Jasper Johns, as seen at MOMA, January 2017.

Resistance is NOT Futile

I woke up this morning with a feeling of dread. Despite the abundance of good work, the anticipation of my new book, the arrival of a dear friend for a weekend visit, I knew there was something else lurking. The same dark anomaly that has been lurking for years now—yes, years, think about it.

When I woke up this morning, I knew that at some point in my day, at least once, whether intentional or not, I would be subjected to the reality of Donald Trump. Headlines yelling at me from my news sources, in my social media newsfeed, from the display in the checkout line—the enormity of what is happening is so loud and terrifying, I’ve developed a screaming whine in my ears that will not go away.

And that’s the scariest part—this is not going away. Not. Going. Away.

So the question is, what do we do with this? You can’t hide from it. Or run away. Ignore it. You have to face it. Do something about it. Cry. March. Scream.

And then go eat a gallon of ice cream. Or shoot yourself. Or something in the middle.

I showed up at the computer this morning determined to disconnect from social media for good, to train myself not to read the headlines anymore, to effectively stick my head in the sand and figure out how to breathe through my ass for the next four years.

But then this article caught my eye. And I read it. And I think you should too.

It’s called “How to Stay Outraged Without Losing Your Mind” by Mirah Curzer, a lawyer, feminist, and photographer. In it, she gives the following tips for being a strong resistor while maintaining your sanity:

1. Don’t Get Used to Trump — Get Away from Him
2. Focus Your Energy on One or Two Issues
3. Make Activism Fun
4. Take Care of the Basics

Please read these “Self-Care Lessons for the Resistance,” and then let’s roll up our sleeves, grab our lightsabers and get to work, shall we? I’ll courageously stay at the front lines with you…or go eat a hot fudge sundae, if that’s what is necessary for the cause.

Text ©2017, Jen Payne. IMAGE: by Hayley Gilmore, ladieswhodesign.com