by andrewwelch

Posted from María, Andalusia, Spain.

  • I developed a great respect for walking.
  • Distance was hard earned.
  • There was very little margin for ‘rushing’ to the next landmark which always arrived incredibly slowly.
  • Walking allows you to build a mental picture of the dynamic system of agencies and agents at work in the watercourse.
  • The landscape is self-similar as it progresses from the mountains to a plateau
  • Monocultural agriculture tends to either kill the life in the watercourse or drive it to overabundance (or the prevalence of one species – so it becomes a monoculture itself)
  • The personal experience is a balance of the kit being carried and its affordances, the challenge of navigating the terrain.
  • There is a natural desire of the mind and consciousness to apply itself and learn from the embodied experience.
  • The landscapes became a ‘part of me’- the tall rock faces, the water flow full of life, the infected flow in the city, the subterranean hidden flow underground, the endless calm of the sea at the end.
  • The geography is full of metaphoric space and this is in dialectic between the imagination, the embodied learning experience and the physical impact and past knowing of the terrain.
  • Cities invariably seem to use the watercourse as dumping ground and of the function to cleanse the city.
  • The watercourse does appear to have dynamic filtering capabilities afforded by the various processes occurring – transport of the water from surface to underground, passing through vegetation and different sizes of particulate matter, the widening and thinning of the stream itself, solar action on the water and the processing of the water by organic agents.
  • The production of water appears to be an emergent property of a dynamic system. This is not reflected in management techniques such as the Canal de Pareton, which approach the water course as a homogenous transport of a singular resource – an impermeable channel where the aim is not to lose a drop of water.
  • It’s difficult to foresee the long-term affect of the damming.
  • There could be more cultural value generated from the Ramblas as makes an obvious walking or mountain biking route.

What is the significance of the dialectic between external stimuli and internal response? What process is being evoked?

  • The mind is in a constant dialectic with the body. Rational, technical response to surroundings which deals with physical reality.
  • There is an intuitive consciousness that is not connected with the thoughts of the mind. You become the environments inhabited., a historical innate e.g. following animal paths.
  • There is a transition into a state of flow that allows the repetition of the walking motion necessary to cover distance.

What is the relevance and value of ‘natural environment’ and ‘wilderness’ in terms of preconceived notions of Wilderness?

  • Before taking the journey, I would have said that ‘nature’ is human’s reification of ‘other’ to the human world. The familiarised way of thinking about the ‘civilised’ world is that it is a safe place away from ‘wild’ Nature. The common understanding of wilderness is that it is out there and journeyed to by exerting great effort and travelling great distances.
  • After completing the journey and meditating on this concept – ‘Nature’ is a defunct term. I wouldn’t know what to explain as ‘Nature’ or not ‘Nature’.
  • Animals and plants are either there or elsewhere and exist as a a myriad of configurations that make do with the conditions available.
  • Humans are also similar but they have certain practices of extracting resources and making with them including mechanized making.
  • There doesn’t appear to be a ‘Natural’ position to move toward or away from. I would always hesitate using this term.
  • ‘Wilderness’ is still a useful term but it is entirely subjective. My wild is not necessarily your wild.

What signs are there of human influence. How do these relate to the human condition? E.g. landscape as resource?

  • Human use of the landscape is strongly connected with the current ideology of capitalism- eg. mass production and monoculture. Placing the dam into the water flow and attempting to ‘capture’ the water and save it still echoes Heidegger’s theory of ‘standing reserve’ – that of capturing resources in order to store them but without necessarily any idea in mind for their use.
  • The practice of channelizing and transporting the water without losing a drop seems to be at odds with the dynamic network of agencies that are at work of which water is an emergent property. A leaking aqueduct with a fig tree growing from it is a fitting example of human understanding of water falling short. Its fine in the relative short term to irrigate crops but large-scale mechanised production is a relatively recent invention and how long will it last?