During the time that I began to know Beth, she was immersed in a number of projects in Baltimore. These included: “Speaking of Silence”, “Middle East Baltimore Stories”, and “Remington Youth Community Radio” . These endeavors centered around uncovering voices and stories that had been purposely silenced or ignored as unimportant, or they were designed to give an outlet for those who don’t normally get to share themselves. I remember spending time with Beth and plunging into questions around how these topics and people had been marginalized and silenced. Something that I realized about Beth, was that as she was undertaking these projects, she was forging a connection to place, which helped to create an even deeper feeling of home for her in Baltimore.
This month you have been asked to investigate your new home of St Croix and share some of the things that you see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. As you make new discoveries, you are connecting in different ways with your new environment.
For this month’s wildcard I would like to combine this exploration of your new environment, with the exploration of silence and marginalization. As part of your discovery process you have been instructed to conduct three interviews. During one of these interviews I would like you to try and interview a Crucian. Along with the general questions you ask about the area that will help in completing your field guide, I would like you to delve into some questions that will uncover something hidden within the fabric of life on the island. This could be linked to the environment, culture, history, etc.. but must uncover something that has been marginalized or silenced (possible examples: crucian language and people, agricultural resurgence, cultural heritage, diversity of climate, water scarcity, bio-luminescent bays, hovensa oil refinery). As this uncovering process helped you during your Baltimore projects, the goal is that this exploration of silence on St Croix will be a way for you to discover the depth of your new home, and possibly even uncover a creative project or interest for you there in the future.
As your field guide continues and as you use one interview to uncover something hidden about your new home, I would also ask that you take one photo per day of something that makes you feel at home there and to publish at least five of these at the end of the month on the living chapters website. You can add short captions to each one or leave them to speak for themselves.
As a final link between home and silence: try to take ten minutes per day (you are welcome to extend the length if time allows) for yourself where you calm your mind in your new environment and just breath and relax. I know that in previous chapters you have been asked to take on similar awareness exercises, and this is just a small continuation and reminder of that, as I know from my own life that when I am moving around and adjusting to new places, I forget to take this time for me, and have to be reminded to do so.
It is clear that there is much happening with your settlement on St. Croix (long plane rides, unfinished living space, remote roads, hindered communications and/or internet). Don’t let this month’s chapter or additional wildcard challenge overwhelm or add difficulty to your life. Instead, continue to adapt to each moment as you have before to see what it holds for you and how it can further your integration there.
As this is a busy time with adaptation and logistical considerations, let this also be a time of exploration, awareness and relaxation .
This chapter has set a direction and goals for you this month………but reaching the destination, as always, is not the important thing….