Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Map project - Miller Place NY

In Foundations class on Friday, my assignment was to make a map of a place that is special to me, that resonates with who I am and gives me definition. I chose to do the beach at Miller Place where my mom lives as the focus of my map.

I took pebbles from the beach there and glued them to the bottom where the waves were coming in, and got quite creative with the map. When I get a moment, I'll edit the entry to show you a picture of how it came out.

In class, we got to see everyone else's maps, too. I noticed a lot of common themes in the maps, especially that most of them contained a body of water somewhere in the map. I wonder if that's a subconscious connection for most people to serenity and peace... An interesting commonality, none the less. I enjoyed doing this project, too, because I got to think of all of the senses when describing my place.

I think I took a different road than most people on this project by picking a place that has been special to me recently instead of when I was a child. I remember my childhood with absolute fondness, but I had a hard time picking out a single spot to do a map of for this assignment. So, instead I chose a place where I now feel peaceful, serene and in touch with nature, a beach house at my mom's place in Miller Place, NY on Long Island. I chose this place because it has an element of mystery, peace, religion, secrecy and nature all intertwined in it. There are secret lives of animals that I never see roaming around at night, each day the ocean offers up different treasures from below to look at, touch or keep. I made my map tactile, too, so that I could remember and associate the smooth rocks with the place.

What I learned while doing this project for myself was that a lot of the things that I cherished finding along the beach were actually not natural objects. Beach glass, for example, is smooth, polished bits of broken glass that have been shaped by the waves and rocks. But beach glass starts off as an old beer bottle, a window, a dish... all trash that has somehow made it into the ocean. And by the quantity of beach glass that I've found over the years, I can only imagine that there must be a near constant source of glass into the ocean somewhere. I occasional find worn bricks, porcelain, tile all which are beautiful in their own right, but are actually pollution... it made me reflect on the idea that I had always associated these things with being natural and a part of the beach.

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