“I was so impressed with this book. It conveyed a beauty and yet sadness at the same time. I could sense the spiritual struggle within the poetry and a reflection of the world around (and the masks society often puts forward). This book is definitely a conversation piece and I can’t wait to share it with others.” — Nicole Pyles, World of My Imagination
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.
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)
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
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
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.
“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