The what's aren't getting done and the garden looks like a "Widow-woman's" ( a term my day would declare when seeing a home in disrepair, jobs left undone and garden/yards totally unattended that he might pass by). It was a disgrace to have a place appear to be neglected and requiring care and not have a "man" to tend to those chores.
It was the image of disrepair he taught us all to aspire to make right. It was the image he sought of things done right that had previously been left undone. It was the image.
Images of this place, of our Tar Creek and her Superfund Site have been captured, showing the neglect and the utter disregard of land once covered with the richest tall-grasses and clean clear water running through it. The images we see now are the "before" it is returned to grandeur. These images can bring our minds together as one to begin the collective will to see it better, as we begin , as we begin the work of seeing the future differently. As we take on the role Tar Creek needs us to take, so no one will think she has been friendless any longer.
What if we could charge our elders to look back through their family photos for the before photos of that creek when she was loved. Those images are the before we long to see and need to see.
But for now we begin reflecting with the set of framed photographs Nancy Goldenberg took and developed in the darkroom herself, the colors of this site, stark,, bold, shapes, the raw emptiness and devastation mining laid upon our land and water. Nancy displayed that set in the NEO Fine Arts foyer at the first Tar Creek Conference 22 years ago. They hand now in the LEAD Agency office, but they were the very images Niall Kirkwood saw that brought him back this year to create that Tar Creek Remade Studio with his Masters Landscape Design students.
These same images brought Vaughn Wascovich here to see the place, catch our light and find the colors with clarity, created a set of images displayed at yet another Tar Creek Conference, brought him back after the deadly tornado to see what was left behind twisted.
Stark black and white images done by Earl Dotter captured people as we interacted with the site, then add to those Todd Stewart's visits along Tar Creek as he met the proponents of the Clean Water Protection Ordinance and found children swimming in her as if Tar Creek was the clean water we long for it to be . Todd met the MHS art students who created the fish that could visit Tar Creek but not yet find it home.
J Pat Carter didn't drone this site, he flew with our Grand Riverkeeper over our last flood and captured the blend of our Tar Creek water with our watershed. Filo Gomez and RC Livesay droned breathtaking images.
Each of these images will tell a story each captures the moment in time of damaged land and water, and now of hope for better. Images being taken even today by Jennifer Little who will chase the light this evening and be there in the morning to find it taking your breath away in the image that who show the state our stream and her waste land is as it is at that moment. These are the before images. We need them. They will be the proof you will show when your Tar Creek us better and the lands she runs through are repaired.
Would you meet her and her drone at the creek one morning, just as the sun is just perfect for that image? Would each of you who have signed those petitions get yourself out of bed one summer day, like a Mary Oliver type of Summer Day and "with your one wild and precious life" line up and look up smiling? That is an image I see.
"You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one..."
That is an image in my mind, of all of us ready to celebrate the brand new life Tar Creek Gets because the people in Miami OK decided to speak up and protect her from further harm Our disabled creek gains from our ability to be those new dreamers.
(And for a time she won't look like a "Widow Woman's" )
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim