A New Art Form – Living the Emerging Narrative

Reflections from the Harper Park Wetlands Summit March 25, 2017

Yvonne Hollandy

The resonant energy of consciously breathing together grounds and connects us in all our individual and collective diversity regardless of our separate experiencing of this phenomenon. Not that it unites us — but that it is our common practice on our common ground.

Faced with risk and fear — what we will risk for what we are discovering we need to protect, and what we fear in the context of our current common challenges — climate change, economic inequalities, environmental devastation, incalculable human suffering — what emerged? Well, there were many solid new possibilities and questions.

The resonance of deep listening sounds like, feels like, is like new music.

  1. The structural formation of a private/public foundation for the Harper Park Wetlands.
  2. The vision of a state-of-the-art Urban Wild Park — how do we learn to respect and protect the wildness, the complexity of an ecosystem that we are all a part of? How can we foster with signage, boardwalks and other minimal guidelines the learning and sharing of experiences in this Park?
  3. Harper Park Wetlands can be a legacy for our children and grandchildren. What will this legacy be?
  4. What values transcend commercial for-profit development?
  5. What collaboration is emerging amongst First Nations and environmental groups in Peterborough and how can collective actions be encouraged and sustained? Immediate: the Peterborough Garden Show, April 7, 8 & 9 at the Evinrude Centre

The orchestration of the Summit was extraordinary. Kim Zippel gave inspiring responses to Peter Pula’s questions. After six years of hard work by Kim and the Peterborough Field Naturalists, we are celebrating the designation of the area as a provincially protected wetland with the buffer zone extended from 30 to 120 metres and the recognition of the crucial hydrogeographic processes that this designation represents.

There was also discomfort and tension amongst the 60 of us gathered in the beautiful facilities of the McDonnel Street Activity Centre. Most of us accepted this as part of the whole fabric of the day. In the light of our common cause, irritants regarding details and tactics could be mostly overcome — or not. There were serendipitous shifts — the idea of an ad in the Peterborough Examiner celebrating the Park and inviting participation transcended an earlier idea of a published list demanding support. Tears were okay. Some wanted to stay outside the circle looking in, which may have affected perceptions of the event, but that too was okay. And in other instances “comfort zones” were expanded, as was to be expected.

The resonance of deep listening sounds like, feels like, is like new music. We are starting to sing it, and even create the dance steps. It’s the dance of life and we can claim it. That’s because we recognize that the physical and emotional and intellectual are component parts of a full experience, insight, idea.

A Summary Question:

If the “second fire”, Love, is the energy, what tempo, momentum, is most conducive for a realistic transformation from the judgmental to new forms of acceptance? Bring attentive to this “beat” (“it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing”) will ensure that positive ideas get the immediate support and implementation that they need.

Curator’s note:  Check out the harvest videos from the Summit below. The first captures elements of the day, as well as declarations of possibility and reflections from participants. The second features members of the Summit’s hosting team, Luke Lee Burton and Ben Wolfe, act as ‘Spirit Weavers’ by expressing the energies they sensed throughout the morning in an improvisational, harmonic blend of poetry and song. Videos produced by Amber Pula.

To see a photo album from the event by Yvonne Hollandy, click here.


Discovering Harmony in Community at Harper Park Summit


Weaving the Spirit of the Harper Park Community Summit

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1 comment

  1. jp hayward-haines

    Now that we can embrace playfulness as an intrinsic part of our individually unique, and of our community, processes, we can begin to envision solutions to the problems that plague us.