Since 1999 Richard and Judith Lang have focused their attention on just 1000 yards of tide line where they have collected plastic washing ashore on Kehoe Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore. Although the news about plastic pollution is dire, they bring the excitement of scouting for treasures and the pleasure of the creative life to an otherwise difficult topic.
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Time after Time
When Anand Pandian, anthropologist and scholar from Johns Hopkins University, arrived we had some idea about what he had in mind for his visit - something about spending the first day taking a deep look at our beach plastic with his eye turned toward our collection as an example of the Anthropocene; spending the second day at Kehoe Beach collecting plastic so that he could observe us in action.
But when he walked in carrying a beautiful bouquet of local flowers that he described as part of the slow flowers movement, it was an generous expression of thanks and a foreshadowing of the conversations about time that were to become the leitmotif of his visit.
From discussions about locally sourced flowers to the eons of geological time; from the thrill of finding clastic plastiglomerate at Kehoe Beach to the counting of every piece of plastic we picked up (754) it was an expansive two days of thought-provoking that left us full of many more really good questions than answers.
When he departed with a ribbon of yellow polypropylene rope for a bracelet, he was ready to make a "fashion statement" about plastic on the beach. As soon as the rope was around his wrist, in the habit of looking a watch, he did a double- take as he quizzically considered that yellow band and the knot. Then, in an AH-HA moment of creative insight, he looked up and pronounced the bracelet a watch — the rope had become a time keeper of geological proportion and a reminder of keeping a "watch" on our human activity.