Archive for August, 2007

These Days

August 29, 2007

Whatever you have to say, leave
the roots on, let them
And the dirt
Just to make clear
where they come from
– Charles Oslon


Small is Beautiful

August 28, 2007

Well, it’s clear that production hasn’t been getting my full attention recently but several things have been simmering away in the back ground. I detoured from my central theme with a rereading of E.F. Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. On reflection, this was a helpful thing to do, because, as Schumacher himself points out, knowledge and research are useless if not dangerous when they fail to reflect their connection to the center of things. To quote him: “It is often asserted that education is breaking down because of over specialization. But this is only a partial and misleading diagnosis … What is at fault is not specialization, but the lack of depth with which the subjects are usually presented, and the absence of metaphysical awareness.?(1) This is, I feel, a useful reminder to bear in mind the reasons WHY I am interested in this issue and not to get wrapped up in inanities. I’m not sure that he’ll find his way into the text of my thesis but I feel strongly that he should be in my thoughts at the moment.
(1) Schumacher 1973, 86

Iteration the First

August 28, 2007

Today is one week to the first Arch 8777 deadline (and tomorrow is an informal meeting for which I promised work) so here it is … drum roll, please … a first stab at a hypothesis and thesis statement.

Read the rest of this entry »


August 18, 2007

Who would be a turtle who could help it?
A barely mobile hard roll, a four oared helmet,
She can ill afford the chances she must take
In rowing toward the grasses that she eats.
Her track is graceless, like dragging
A packing case places, and almost any slope
Defeats her modest hopes. Even being practical
She’s often stuck up to the axle on her way
To something edible. With everything optimal,
She skirts the ditch which would convert
Her shell into a serving dish. She lives
Below luck level; never imagining some lottery
Will turn her load of pottery into wings.
Her only levity is patience,
The sport of truly chastened things.
This isn’t really thesis related at all. I took the day off to help a friend move from one apartment to another and haven’t made any progress on research or writing. However, it has come to my attention that I have a new reader. Holly, you liked the poem by Kay Ryan, so here’s another. Its not exactly an upper but I am tired at the end of a rainy day so it appeals to me right now. I think you’ll like the play of words. Its one of my favorites, really, for getting through difficult times.

Historic Landfill Controversy

August 16, 2007

The history of landfills in American life received national attention in 2001, when then Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton announced that she would be placing one on the National Register of Historic Places. “The Fresno Sanitary Landfill was opened in 1937 and closed in 1987. It is the oldest “true? sanitary landfill in the untied states,?(1) stated the National Park Service press release announcing its designation. “At the Fresno site, [sanitation engineers first practiced] the layering of refuse and dirt in trenches, compacting the dirt and refuse, and then covering the filled areas daily to minimize rodent and debris problems.?
The appointment was not without controversy. Many were outraged that the government would accord a landfill, “the same historic-landmark status as George Washington’s home.? The Seattle Times described the landfill somewhat less flatteringly than had the NPS release, calling it “a 140 acre mound of crankcase oil and paint solvents,? and reporting that Norton had “revoked the honor yesterday after she found out what a dump it really is.?(2) Actually its status was not withdrawn and it is still on the register (National Register Number 01001050) (3) Perhaps more offensive to many than the fact of its being a “dump?, was the site’s previous designation as a Superfund Toxic waste site, not to mention the 38 million dollars it had cost the government to clean up the methane emissions into the air and VOC leachate in the ground water around it from 1989 to 2001. The superfund status was vilified by environmentalists, including Carl Pope, the executive director of the Sierra Club, who derided the Historic status as being just another slap in the face of the environmental movement from the Bush government.(4)
This seems unnecessarily pessimistic to me. As the National Park Service put it, “the Fresno Sanitary Landfill possesses those exceptional qualities that help us as a nation illuminate and understand trends in emerging and developing technology.? (1) From that perspective perhaps an early landfill, even, or especially, with its problems and cleanup, is as useful a Landmark as the preserved homes of the Founding Fathers. National Historic Landmarks “guide us in comprehending the trends and patterns in American History.? Those trends are that sometimes (often) we get technology wrong. Hopefully the Fresno Sanitary Landfill also illustrates a trend of learning from our mistakes and improving on the past.
(1) NPS press release, 2001
(2) Borenstein, 2001, A1
(3) National Historic Landmarks Program at
(4) White, 2001, A19

The Early Days of Trash

August 16, 2007

Trash has always been part of life as a human. To quote the self styled garbage archaeologist William Rathje, “Throughout most of time human beings disposed of garbage in a very convenient manner; simply by leaving it where it fell. To be sure, they sometimes tidied up their sleeping and activity areas, but that was about all.?(1) The trash management system in a hunter-gatherer society was straightforward enough; move debris out of the way of your feet, and when the smell built up too much, move on to a new spot. Naturally the first real problem with this method came about when people began to transition into a more settled lifestyle.
Even so, “not surprisingly, a human being’s first inclination is always to dump.?(2) In early settlements it was not always even common to carry waste to the edge of town. Instead people left small debris right on the floor inside their buildings, sometimes sweeping it to the edge of the room and still more occasionally bringing in good clean dirt or clay – fill of some kind – to cover it up. Over time this practice raised floors, houses and eventually entire cities, as roofs and doorways were elevated to accommodate the rising floor level. “Over time the ancient cities of the Middle East rose high above the surrounding plains on massive mounds called tells, which contained the ascending remains of centuries, even millennia, of prior occupation.?(3)
(1) Rathje, 1992, 32
(2) 34
(3) 35

American Trash

August 12, 2007

Wendell Berry, environmentalist critic and commentator, says that, “a close inspection of our countryside would reveal, strewn over it from one end to the other, thousands of derelict and worthless automobiles, house trailers, refrigerators, stoves, freezers, washing machines and dryers; as well as thousands of unregulated dumps in hollows and sink holes, on stream banks and roadsides, filled not only with ‘disposable’ containers but also with broken toasters, television sets, toys of all kinds, furniture, lamps, stereos, radios, scales, coffee makers, mixers, blenders, corn poppers, hair dryers and microwave ovens.? (4) This is a description of rural trash but it is indicative of a problem that proliferates throughout our country. As a society, America produces an almost unspeakable amount of trash. In 2005 we created 246 million tons of municipal solid waste alone (before recycling).
Berry blames this on “a symbiosis of an unlimited greed at the top and a lazy, passive and self-indulgent consumptiveness at the bottom.? He takes a dim view of our future. He was also writing almost twenty years ago, in 1990. Since then our generation of individual waste has remained steady at about 4.5 pounds of waste per person per day, although municipal recycling has increased to around 1.5 pounds per person per day. Numerous books have been published on the topic of corporate greening and some notable companies have taken great strides. The genesis of some of the first waste free industrial plans in North America (like the Subaru plant in Lafayette, Indiana, for example) is a positive step. It is encouraging to read quotes such as “Anything that’s waste is an inefficiency in the process, and inefficiency is lost dollars,? by Patricia Calkins, the VP for Environment, Health and Safety at Xerox, or “the biggest win is not recycling, but engineering the material out of your system so you don’t need to worry about land filling it,? according to HP’s David Lear, VP of Corporate, Social and Environmental Responsibility. The fact that such positions even exist is encouraging. Still, we generate a lot of trash. And Berry is right; we are all complicit. Before I can tackle what should happen to our trash, the baseline needs to be established:
What happens to my trash?
The answer to this question was almost laughably easy to find. All it took was a few clicks of the mouse to show me the City of Minneapolis website, where I discovered that none of my trash is land filled, instead it goes to the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center, HERC for short, where the “use mass burn technology to convert 365,000 tons of garbage a year into electricity that is sold to Xcel Energy.? The gather enough power out of this process to run the equivalent of 25,000 homes. Well, that sounds like a good thing. Tours of the facility are available and I think I should take one to see the situation at first hand. For the moment though, we’ll assume that Minneapolis has found an ideal solution to their garbage problem … and their energy problem. But if that’s the case, why isn’t it what everyone does?
What happens to most American trash?
According to the EPA’s report, Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2005, 32 percent of that aforementioned 246 million tons of MSW was recovered through composting or recycling. Another 33 million tons, or 14 percent was combusted for power and the remaining 54 percent (133 million tons went to landfills). Leaving aside the pros and cons of recycling, and assuming provisionally that this energy harvest method is a good thing I wanted to know more about landfills.
A first (but by no means last) step in finding about American landfills is to see what they say about themselves. The NSWMA, or National Solid Waste Management Association, is a trade association representing for profit landfill companies. They define a Municipal Solid Waste Landfill as, “a scientifically engineered structure built into or on the ground that is designed to isolate waste from the environment.? Asked if landfills are a safe way to dispose of our trash they answer, “Yes. Modern landfills are well-engineered facilities subject to strict federal and state regulation for location, design, operating conditions, monitoring, closure, post-closure care, clean up (if necessary) and financial assurance.? That second to last point strikes me as not altogether comforting. Still more unsettling was their answer to the question “Are we running out of landfill capacity?? “No,? they state, followed immediately by, “On a national level, the United States has 20 years of disposal capacity.? And going on to add that on a state by state basis that amount might be as little as five years. I think we might need to be focusing more on that 133 million tons of waste still being directed to the landfills.
And bear in mind that number refers only to Municipal Solid Waste, which does not include industrial, hazardous or construction waste. Next question what about that construction waste?

First Person Singular

August 12, 2007

A note on the text:
These little essays are something like a snapshot of notes growing into a very rough first draft. It will, naturally, be edited, culled and rewritten before I move on. I don’t however expect the tone to change much. This is a journey for me as much as it is a repository of knowledge for anyone else and I intend to affect the same style of breezy chat in my finished thesis which has always been found in my correspondence (both with myself and with others). This might be viewed as too casual – not academic enough. I shall refer any such criticism to Thoreau who prefaced Walden thusly:
“In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained; that, in respect to egotism is the main difference. We commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking. I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.?

Payatas – Trash City

August 7, 2007

My first real wakeup call about trash in the modern world came when I visited the dump community, Payatas, in the Philippines in March of 2003. I was, by that time, no longer a stranger to the breath-taking frankness of the hard knocks life in the so-called third world. But my visit to Payatas shocked me to the core. Metro Manila has several large (and I mean gigantic) municipal dumpsites, the largest of which is Payatas. Unlike in the US, for better or for worse, it is not simply a landfill – a large hole in the ground where trash is deposited until its filled and which is then sealed over and planted with grass and forgotten. Payatas is the site of a large informal recycling community. Hundreds of families live around and on the dump and earn their living by waiting on top of the pile as the trucks come in and then sorting through the waste in search of valuable items.
Some basic facts: 150,000 people work on the dump, picking through their share of the 6,700 tons of garbage that Metro Manila produces daily. The city has ten such dumps, all over flowing, of which Payatas is the most widely known, due to a collapse in 2000 that killed 200 people. More than 400 trucks come to the 100 foot high mountain of trash every day bringing in 1.800 tons of trash in a 16 hour work day. (2)
Payatas is the successor to Smokey Mountain, a still larger dump on the island of Luzon, which was home to the largest slum in Asia until it was forcibly cleared and the landfill closed by the Filipino government in November 1995. After the landslide at Payatas, the government attempted to close it too, but it was reopened at the demand of its workers, who are dependent on trash picking for their livelihood. (1)
What happens to all that trash? “The bounty of the trucks is sifted and sorted by the scavengers, who pass it on to scrap shops specializing in copper wire, old newspapers, aluminum cans, plastic, cardboard bits of machinery, box springs, raffle tickets, tires, broken toys – virtually all the infinite components of civilized life.? (2)
The way I remember it, the people of Payatas were able to find a use for nearly everything that came off the trucks – all of it going off to be reused, melted down, composted, or who knew what – except the plastic bags. I know that these can be recycled in the US because I’ve seen the collection sites outside grocery stores but in the Philippines there doesn’t seem to be a market for it. So in the end as you step across the ‘ground’ on the dump mountain looking down stories and across blocks to see the edges, what you’re standing on is mostly plastic bags. Bear in mind Manila is home to a society almost pathologically obsessed with plastic bags. If you buy something in a store, all other things being equal, you will walk out with at least three bags. In a grocery store all produce comes plastic wrapped, then is double bagged for you by a smiling attendant – who’s happy demeanor will turned to semi-horrified puzzlement should you attempt to refuse a bag. It seems to represent the pinnacle of modern, sanitary, western style living. So consequently they figure largely in the city’s trash. The man-made mountain of bags covers 22 hectares of land. It is awe inspiring. It is awesome. It is awful.
Visiting that dump community certainly made a big impression on me. I am still vigilant to the point of obnoxious about refusing plastic bags in stores – even if I’ve forgotten to bring one and end up with an unwieldy armload of goods to schlep home. In fact, for a long time I dedicated everything I threw away “to Payatas, with love? under my breath to heighten my own consciousness of the waste. I keep my own trash to a minimum – avoiding packaging where I can, recycling everything possible, composting via a neighbor actually in possession of a yard. I’ve been known to pick up other people’s plastic bottles – and even to go through trash after them – to keep them out of the waste stream.
The trash community at Payatas in the Philippines is not an isolated incident. Similar “recycling? systems are in place all around the globe – anywhere the daily average wage is low enough to make garbage picking a viable livlihood. In Mexico City, these pickers are known as pependadores.(1) In Cairo they are called Zabaline. The zabaline collect around a third of their city’s trash, of which they are able to redirect around 80%, “down to the filaments of the lightbulbs.? This translates to around 30 percent of the overall waste of Cairo which is more than double that achieved in the United States thus far.(2) So much for sustainability being a fad of the rich first world!
[Note to self: also look into the “chiffoniers? of Boston’s Back Bay dump in the mid 1800’s]
All of this is happening very far away and is, theoretically, not applicable to the modern United States. We don’t allow children to pick through carcinogenic refuse in our landfills anymore. The memory of Payatas affects me on a personal level; it gives me a visual aid to help me frame the concept of my own garbage. But the trash management policies of metro Manila have little bearing on what we do with garbage here in America.
[Next question: What DO we do with garbage here in America?]
(2) A Hell on Earth, Lived by Children and Parents. Stephen Holden. New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Mar 28, 2002. pg. E.5
(3) Eking Out a Living, of Sorts, From a Mountain of Muck. Seth Mydans. New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: May 23, 2006. pg. A.4
(1) Rathje, 1992, 192

Biloxi, My Love

August 6, 2007

Autobiographical note: I spent four months living and working in Biloxi Mississippi as part of a sort of ad hoc study abroad program this spring. I went down there because my conscience told me it was the “right thing to do�? but I found more than a charity case. I think its fair to say that I left my heart on the Gulf Coast. The work I did, the friends I made, the trains of thought that began there will be with me for a long time.
This thesis is, among many other things, but perhaps above all else, a love song – to Biloxi; to Hands On, which sheltered me from various storms; to the EBCRC, EBCRA, Hope Center or whatever-the-hell its called; to New Orleans and Mona’s Café; to the Shed (which is ironically my favorite restaurant in creation despite the fact that it serves not a single thing I can eat); to the damn casinos that I loved at sunrise, if at no other time; to the beach; to house on Nixon Street and to the whole Gulf Coast.

On August 29th, 2005 Hurricane Katrina made land fall near New Orleans with results that everyone saw publicized for days on CNN and Fox news. Shortly thereafter it slammed through Biloxi, MS; blowing off roofs, washing building-sized casino boats onto the shore and flooding the whole peninsula of East Biloxi feet deep. The disaster in Mississippi got less attention in the national media but did as much damage or more. In its wake streets were left impassable by the debris – houses down the block from their foundations, downed trees and the detritus of a community shaken like a snow globe littered the city. FEMA estimated that 39.9 million cubic yards of debris were generated in Mississippi alone. “As much as one-third of the debris is vegetative matter that can be burned or chipped for compost. The rest must be recycled or land filled.�? This is seriously problematic as Mississippi didn’t have enough landfills to accommodate that load.(1)
By the time I first set eyes on the city in March of 2006, most of this had been cleaned up, at least on the surface. The streets were clear and passable, although sidewalks were gone and houses still stood at odd angles in front yards, often not their own. During the week I worked in Mississippi that spring break I watched several condemned houses demolished and saw the remnants of many more – piles of rubble filling the space between chain link fences. A year later, when I returned to Biloxi, this time for a four month stay, even more of the visual evidence of the storm had been cleared. All those demolished houses had been transformed into empty lots with grass and weeds growing up to cover the concrete block foundations, stairways rising pitifully to nowhere and defunct driveways.
[Where did all that trash go!] [look into that EPA don’t ask don’t tell policy on all the moldy crap from New Orleans – where did I hear that rumor?]
To the uninformed Biloxi today might even appear to be a run-of-the-mill, run down community in any part of the country, albeit with rather more empty lots than normal. To me, though, the vacant property stood out like missing teeth in the face of an accident victim whose bruises are beginning to fade. I never saw Biloxi before the storm – but I know it didn’t look like this. The chain link fences are twisted and broken as evidence of the trees and buildings which collided with them. The sidewalks are heaving and crumbled, often missing, showing how the soil bubbled and churned under them.
And Biloxi is still a city filled with blowing trash. Most of this is no longer the detritus of Katrina but the carelessness of its current residents – social impulses worn down by the body blow that the community has taken. The city of Biloxi will pick up any construction waste that is Katrina related so people clearing moldy houses, demolishing sodden drywall and moldy rotten 2x4s, and knocking out broken windows carry their debris to the sidewalk and dump it there. Trucks come around irregularly and the piles grow large and flow out past the parking strip and into the lanes of traffic. People simply learn to live with it, walking down the center of streets rather than on sidewalks even if they still exist. Some of the trash is more circumstantial. Volunteers, construction workers and residents go through palates of bottled water every day, partly due to nerves about the city supply and partly because it is still arriving by the donated truckload on an almost daily basis. They down a 12 oz bottle in one long, thirsty gulp and then drop it on the nearest trash pile. Then the lightweight plastic bottle is caught by the next gust of wind and blows into the street proper. [This is on the generous assumption that such bottles aren’t dropped directly onto the street by their users.]
Biloxi, for me, was a laboratory and wake up call on any number of fronts, but for the purposes of right now, it really clarified the idea of waste in America and especially in the construction industry.

Following Goethe’s Advice

August 5, 2007

As the man said, “what ever it is you do or dream you can, Begin it! Boldness has genius power and magic in it.” I think that’s true – at least I’ve found it to work for me on many occasions. It’s been working lately. As I don’t believe I mentioned in post, the first, this fall begins my third year of the M. Arch. program here at the U, which means, most significantly, producing a thesis.
Now, a Masters thesis for a professional program at a Midwestern land grant university is not a dissertation – its not much of a writing project at all. I’m pretty familiar with the process, having TAed the prep course for my elders and betters two years running now, and the way I see it, the college’s basic requirement is a fair-to-middling research paper to pave the way for a design-your-own-studio project. However, I have higher ambitions. For one thing, I have aspirations to the higher calling of academe and, for another, I’ve had two years to simmer over this idea already. So … I want more. That’s OK. I can fulfill the college’s requirements and satisfy my own expectations too. I know my classmates are generally looking forward to this undertaking with trepidation but … I’m excited to begin. So I’ve been working on it a bit in the copious free time provided by working at an 8 to 5 job this summer. We’re all supposed to be working ahead naturally but its much easier said than done and the most most people manage to do is come in the first day with a hastily typed topic and first idea. Then the race begins to gain certainty, polish your hypothesis, do all the associated research, come up with a design project and complete a detailed site analysis and program. Not too much to ask in a semester with a full load of other courses to boot. It reduces strong men to tears and renders the most self-contained people doubtful and whiny. I’ve seen it all and don’t want it to happen to me. Thus … this blog, which is supposed to provide both the motivation to keep me moving forward and a venue for posting current thoughts and work more compelling than the My Documents file of my computer.
The next entry should be research related. I’ve got a bunch of raw material and need to start processing soon. In the mean time – my preferred conclusion should already be becoming obvious.


August 5, 2007

State your intentions, Muse. I know you’re there.
Dead bards who pined for you have said
You’re bright as flame, but fickle as the air.
My pen and I, submerged in a liquid shade,
Much dark can spread, on days and over reams
But without you, no radiance can shed.
Why rustle in the dark, when fledged with fire?
Craze the night with flails of light. Reave
Your turbid shroud. Bestow what I require.
But you’re not in the dark. I do believe
I swim, like squid, in clouds of my own make,
To you, offensive. To us both, opaque.
What’s constituted so, only a pen
Can penetrate. I have one here; let’s go.
– Neal Stephenson

General Philosophizing

August 3, 2007

I’ve been resisting, and yet strangely attracted to, the idea of a blog for some time now. Each time my attention turned to the matter I questioned my motives. Why would an extreme introvert want to shout their ideas from the internet hilltops, visible to all and sundry? Its highly illogical. And yet I find I do have things I want to say. Perhaps blogging is an introvert’s tool after all. It’s a venue for the sharing of ideas with a theoretical outside world, without the actual bother of seeking out specific people and really communicating with them or the associated nerves of face to face interactions.
However, being the child of a professional wordsmith, and an amateur in my own right, I really couldn’t begin one without a good title. I was thinking ‘trashed’ which has the value of irony and would pertain to my thesis (about which more hereafter). But it didn’t have the right ring to it.
I found it serendipitously at the library on Tuesday after work. I had just dropped by to do some reading and had detoured past the entrance in order to run my old books through the automated check out machine and had paused outside the door to rearrange my bags. As I looked up I happened to see Joan Soranno and John Cook walk in before me, looking a little lost. They took the elevator and disappeared from view. Then my eye caught on a poster for an event sponsored by HGA taking place in the Athenaeum on the fourth floor. So I followed my curiosity one floor up from my usual spot (derived through a complicated calculation involving nearness to the NA section, distance from other readers, protection from too-prominent sightlines down aisles and, of course, shade). When I got off the elevator something in my manner of looking around drew the attention of the white coated bouncer/HGA-head-honcho at the door of the exhibit. He asked if I was here for the show and I answered honestly that I had not been invited but was a curious architecture student and … would that get me in? He gave me a name tag and I slipped in while he chatted up the next arriving architectural bright lights.
It turned out to be the last day of a traveling exhibition of Iraqi book art – really beautiful stuff, mostly watercolor and what is commonly referred to as “mixed media” on handmade looking paper bound in interesting ways. Of course the text was all in Arabic but it was beautiful none the less. The room was swirling with dramatic people in eccentric glasses and black clothing, some conversing about the architecture scene but some listening to the white gloved docents talk about the display. I tagged along to one of the groups and heard the librarian describing the sense of one of the books as she talked. She said the author was writing about letters as being the foundation of all communication. The formed bonds into words and the words bonded into thoughts – she used a couple of flowery and poetical similes that didn’t appeal to me and which I have since forgotten. They may have worked better in the original Arabic than in a brief and paraphrased translation but I was totally distracted from my literary criticism by the last words. The book concluded sadly, with something about the pain of being and exile and ended “I am lost between the letters.” I was entranced.
I had to get out a pen and write down his name – Dia al-Azzawi. It was actually only after I had jotted it down that I remembered that on all previous experiences inside the closed archive of a library there had been strict pencils only rules and there I was with a pad of paper and navy blue inked fountain pen at chest height. Oops. I quickly stashed it in my purse but the spell was broken. I remembered my obligations to my seat downstairs and also felt a bit out of place among so many of my architectural betters. Also I was the youngest in the room by about 15 years. Bear in mind the way the NYT is always waxing poetic about “brilliant young architect, 46.” But I got what I came for, obviously. There are times when I feel lost between the letters in the sense he intended – cut off from communication when the bonds turning the alphabet into words and words into meaning and meaning into some connection with my fellow humans fall apart and leave me breathless and stranded. But I prefer my own interpretation – the sense of losing oneself in the noise of the universe – and in the mystic symbols with which we describe it. I’m reminded of a quotation by Annie Dillard in her wonderful autobiography An American Childhood. “Private life, book life, took place where words met imagination without passing through world.”
Well I feel that this is plenty and to spare for an introduction.
This strange process of publishing random thoughts to the universe seems like a poem by one of my new favorites, Kay Ryan. And anyone who knows me would expect this to conclude with a poem so … in honor of three much-missed stalls in the women’s bathroom of a church gym in Biloxi Mississippi:

Lighthouse Keeping

August 3, 2007

Seas pleat
winds keen
fogs deepen
ships lean no
doubt, and
the lighthouse
keeper keeps
a light for
those left out.
It is intimate
and remote both
for the keeper
and those afloat.
– Kay Ryan