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April First Friday, April 5 5-7pm

Grace Mitchell, Heidi Fowler, Kathryn O’Grady, Joe Karlik, Blake Conroy, Eve Stockton and gallery artists.


Refuge and Prospect

Evolutionary biologists may have an answer that goes beyond the expected and points to a greater understanding of homo sapiens. Some believe that our attraction to beautiful views is biologically based and may provide a key to our survival. The inherent attraction felt in the presence of such views is hardwired in our DNA because of the experience of our earliest ancestors who thrived in certain environments and had a greater chance of survival to reproduce, evolve and eventually produce us.

Some research has shown that people prefer environments that provide both prospect and refuge – a view over distant space and a safe refuge from which to observe it.  This would be an ideal environment for those living at a time when successful hunting and gathering and a safe place to eat and sleep were vital to survival, and a preference for such environments was passed along among survivors.  

Obviously, the survival value of the perch with a view is not as apparent in today’s world, but being in the presence of such environments continues to be experienced as pleasing and life-enhancing. And there’s no doubt that safe shelter and access to opportunities continue to be basic to survival. But in today’s world we are witnessing an increasing loss of both.  It’s becoming more and more clear that environmental health/preservation is not just a question of saving whales and woods.  

Human induced climate change — created by the combustion of fossil fuels which has also provided us with some of the most luxurious forms of shelter ever seen, of course — poses an increasing threat to our shelter, our refuge, both here at home and around the world, and climate “refugees” number in the millions each year, with projections reaching into the billions for coming years.  In the US, severe weather events and rising seas have destroyed more and more homes, and rising rents and housing shortages have left the homeless roaming the streets and setting up encampments in our major cities.  Our refuge, a most fundamental biological need, is being destroyed, both here and abroad. And along with the loss of shelter can go the loss of freedom and prospects required for the healthy functioning of individuals and society.

As the poet says, “We’re already on the brink.”

Late August

By Mary McCoy

and the heat has settled on the tired land
and the corn is tall and thinking about turning brown
and the old house is peeling paint
that won’t ever be scraped and sanded
and painted over fresh again.
The heavy air speaks thunderstorms
and worse.
The vine-heavy trees at the shoreline
edging the wide flat field
are already leaning,
branches strained,
roots eroded
by the rising water.
Another hurricane breeds
down south,
the bay broods in anticipation.
The waves overreached the dock last time.
It’s hotter now,
and the tide rides higher up its pilings.
We’re already on the brink.

Where do we go from here?  Can the love of a view help point the way?










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