Project Awe

Project Awe

This will be the first of many projects I hope Big Circle can facilitate. The background of this project is really, as I type this, a story about me. Its ultimate purpose is to place at risk youth in a position to experience awe in a natural setting far removed from their day to day existence. Yet, the idea is really something that sprang from my past, and my present. I spent my youth in northern Wisconsin, at an all boys summer camp, that my Great Uncle started in 1929. For two months, over 7 years I developed an affinity for nature, for the sense of self that came from being removed from the trappings of Gameboys(remember those?) and television, roads, unnatural noise. I remember falling in love with the smell of the pines, and the crackle of a fire. The ways that stars could be seen, and that the sea of them truly instilled wonderment, a perspective of my place in the larger world, an appreciation for life…all at once…a quiet filling awe.

As I grew up and this enjoyment built upon past experience I came to approach life and in a different manner. My vacation time, my me time, my energy were more and more directly related to the natural world. I learned more to appreciate the subtleties of life, light playing on the concrete, the rustle of leaves in a stiff fall wind. I came to value silence. I began to understand what I was in the context of the larger planet. Of the universe. I came to understand the beauty of the ideas of interconnectedness. That we are all part of the same large entity and that individualism is a falsehood. Seeing by walking through nature the way in which everything works in a seamless and interdependent manner, helped me see the human world differently.

“The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you are out there. -Yasutani Roshi

My early and formative time spent in nature helped me realign my values, and sense of self. I want to spread that to those who come from something else… some too many of us don’t understand, avoid at all costs and assign judgment upon.  I want to help those whose landscape is destruction, ego, disrepair, hate, violence, inattention and a lacking community, to see the greater community they are a part of…earth, and to give them a sense of wonder, of possibility, or inner strength and context that can help each one see the larger scope of life, and their potential. The project aims to take the images of those who by all accounts have little ability to, interest in and likelihood of entering the hallowed halls of our greatest treasures of nature and create a stark juxtaposition of their eyes,faces, their souls with the natural world largely unknown to them. I want to use this imagery to raise the chance for them to enter and explore a foreign church, a place they can hopefully learn to live and appreciate a larger reality,