Toward an Ecohumanities

For some time I thought there was time
and that there would always be time
for what I had a mind to do
and what I could imagine
going back to and finding it
as I had found it the first time...
-W.S. Merwin. From, "The New Song."

When I began this project, I thought of Shunryu Suzuki, a Zen Master who arrived in San Francisco on the cusp of the 1960s, and attracted young people to lectures on, and practice of, how to find reality for themselves. Suzuki is perhaps best known for saying, "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few."

First thoughts are inspired by molecules that have circulated for millions of years through all forms life, in and through human life too. We breathe in the essence of their being, and breathe out our own way of seeing. With each breath, we begin again.

In 1999, the Ojai Valley Land Conservatory was able to purchase and save more than 1,600 acres of watershed from luxury housing development and golf course indulgence. The area is home to a wide range of birds, plants, and animals that include black bear, cougar, bobcat, badger, mule deer, and the trickster, coyote.

Beginner's Mind reflects notes, and photographs that "are texts inscribed in terms of what we may call 'photographic discourse'" [From a letter to L.R. Lippard and J. Chandler, 23 March 1968], made over the course of a single year while walking this land pondering myths and realities, visions and synchronicities, yin and yang, the beauty of it all.



To my dear wife, with whom I gratefully share my life. Also, to my colleagues at Pacifica Graduate Institute; to Jeremy Hunsinger, at the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture; Tracy Dillon, at Portland State University; and Alan Liu, at The University of California, Santa Barbara. To Edward Picot, for his thoughtful critiques. And to the Ancestors whose forty thousand years of inspired creativity endow my life and work.

-Joel Weishaus
Ojai, CA., 2013-14.
"Valley of the Moon"