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09.29.21

The Swamp Show

An Outdoor Exhibit on the Oxbow, Nonotuck



The Swamp Show is a forthcoming outdoor exhibition set along the Connecticut River’s Oxbow in Northampton, Massachusetts. The show will be on view October 8-10 2021 and entirely assessible by canoe ride.

     Appointment reservations need to be made in advance to not overwhelm the landscape and to meet COVID precautions.

     The canoes are provided along with lifejackets. Those who have access to canoes and kayaks are welcome to coordinate and bring them to the site for their appointment.

    For those who cannot join us in person, there will be thorough documentation and filming of this experience by Alexander Rotondo and Lazar Bozic.


   A Reception will take place Saturday with a performance by LUCY (Cooper B. Handy). A reading by Isa Reisner and Michael Childress. please stay tuned! 

The address is shared after you have made the reservation,
please do not expect
a canoe ride without a reservation..


ARTISTS IN THE SWAMP SHOW INCLUDE: 

Aidan Koch
Alexander Rotondo
Annabell P. Lee
Astrid Terrazas
Barry Elkanick
bobbi Salvör Menuez
Brook Hsu
Cecilia Caldiera
Chris Lloyd
Claire Christerson
Dylan Kraus
Elizabeth Jaeger
Emma Kohlmann
Estefania Puerta
Esther Clark
Hannah Brookman
Jessica Butler
Lele Saveri
Liam Halvorsen
Maia Ruth Lee
Michael Childress
Naomi Romm
Nick Sethi
Sarah Nsikak
Suzanna Zak
SWAMPY
Vinnie Smith



An incredible illustration by LIAM HALVORSEN! THANK YOU,LIAM!


 An Oxbow is a U-shape curve in a river or lake.

Native Indigenous people in this area, like the pocumtuc tribe, referred to what is now called “Northampton” as Nonotuck. This word translates to

“far away land”,
“middle of the river”
“land in the middle of the river”

It was given this name because of
the Oxbow formation in the river that
pervades through the area.

The Connecticut River Oxbow, the site of this exhibition,
technically is no longer a continuous U-shape meander.
Due to various factors accounted for by human modification
of the environment, industrialization and natural major
flooding, it now is dissected into three bodies of
water with portions connected through channels. 



The Swamp Show is located in an inlet
cove that is shaped like a crab claw.



The historic topographical changes of this river have aided a swamp forest to thrive with a
Shrek-colored-turbid algae bloom that unfurls in the warmer months.


It has trees, shrubs, and hydrophytes which create a bio-diverse environment for amphipods, birds, flora, fauna, algae and aquatic plants to flourish. The artists presented in this exhibit share connections to this kind of natural environment in their varied practices, or likely share a consciousness expressed in their work. 





These fractures of human interference
have broken up the river’s natural horse-shoe curvature.



Ox Bow, the Object: a U-shaped collar (ox yoke) typically for a pair of oxen. This design permits two oxen from pulling a heavy load in unison allowing for equal form and efficiency of strength & power. 



This particular landscape has been subject to many publically circulated paintings and drawings over the past three centuries. The earliest known work on record was made in 1826, featured below.


The most circulated landscape painting of the oxbow is Thomas Cole’s “View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm", painted in 1836. Cole painted it from drawings he referenced in a book. It lives in Gallery 759 of The MET in NY if you would like to say hello to it. 



Some Vintage “Oxbow” knits from Ebay: 


Emma and I live on the island surrounded by the oxbow, it is also known as the Hockanum Meadows. At the tail-end of this one road, residential neighborhood is a boating marina.This segment of the oxbow connects openly with the rest of the river, allowing boats to travel freely up and down the full extent of the body of water. Photo taken September 7, 2021




A shell from the Oxbow (approx. 2 inches long).




This landscape can alternatively be experienced telescopically from Mount Holyoke (Skinner State park) Hadley, Massachusetts. From the summit of this mountain one can see the Oxbow from over 900 feet in elevation. This viewpoint is where so many renderings of the oxbow and the greater Connecticut river valley have been immortalized. One can also observe 360 degree views of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont - taking notice of the pastoral landscapes and doll-sized silhouettes of urban cities and towns, which are surrounded by the foothills of Berkshire and Sunderland mountains.


Emma and Alex on the Summit.


We spotted fox pups one day
while walking down the mountain..


A lot of Blue Mountain Birds
live up there.

Click here to hear their song... 


This postcard is inscribed with : “Dear Mrs. Cameron, Will you take a trip with me this summer, to see this beautiful tree? Shall be delighted to have the pleasure of your company. -a.w”

Taken from the Parks dept. (team from SKINNER park- Mount Holyoke), Hawk Handout: “Hawk migration begins in mid-September and continues through the month of November with different species moving through at different times. The show begins with large flights of Broad-winged Hawks around the middle of September.


Continued.... “ If the weather conditions are right, it is not unusual to see from one to several thousand hawks pass by the Summit House. The proper weather conditions include a steady northwest wind and at least partly sunny skies. This marks the approach of a high pressure weather system. The tail wind aids the hawks and the sun warms the earth, which results in rising currents of air called thermals. The soaring hawks rise up on the thermals and then “peel off” at speeds approaching 20 MPH until they catch another thermal and begin the process over again. This method makes it possible for the birds to travel many miles without ever flapping their wings. Broad-winged Hawks are known for migrating in large groups called “kettles”. It is not unusual to see upwards of a hundred birds in a “kettle” soaring over Mt. Holyoke. The Broad-winged Hawk is in a family of hawks called buteos. They generally have broad wings and tails and spend most of their flying time soaring. Other buteos that can be seen migrating past the Summit House include the Redtailed Hawk and the Red-shouldered Hawk.”

Text is from this free printable handout





JUDY HAWKE

Judy Hawke, is a Grandmother figure for Emma and I. She is a poet, teacher, nature-lover and Grandmother to Raisa. She appreciates all kinds of creatures - small and large. I am deeply inspired by Judy and her friendship. She likes to write poems about all things and in particular... birds.
Here are a few recent poems by Judy:

Birds Flutter

Birds flutter down like falling leaves, 
And hide in sunlit thicket of willow.

Great horned owl hoots his muffled call
Across my frozen field. 

Early morning calm and cold
Hold eternity in momentary reverence.


Lunch at the Hanging Suet Cake

Two hungry diners came for lunch today, 
So i sat down to see which of them would stay, 
First came little Downy, more timid than 
cousin Hairy, 
But when lively little Nuthatch came, Downy 
didn’t find her scary, 
“Take the other side of the cake,” said Downy
pecking fast, 
And they ate and swung together in a friendship 
that might last.


A forthcoming book release of Judy’s poetry will
come out this late fall, 2021. It will be illustrated
by Emma and Raisa Sandstrom will be consulting.









In the winter season, one of the most lovely and freeing activities Emma and I like to do is ice skate on the Oxbow. It’s nice cause you not only experience the river as a terrain but as you glide upon it, you can feel it emotionally in a new way.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8💋️AYMwfS0QfM - emma on the ice (January 26, 2021)...


 
 
The Mass Audubon was founded in 1896 and is a nonprofit orgnanization serving to protect birds, flora, fauna, and other wildlife that call home to the 40,000 acres of Massachusetts land considered apart of the organization. This includes 150 endangered and threatened native species. It is located on the Southwest part of the Oxbow. The sanctuary secondarily serves the public. They have a variety of free programing for kids and adults across all of their 20 nature centers,including a wide array of bird watching guided experiences.One of their local nature sites sits along the Oxbow (across from the boating marina).

They have free guided programs!!! Here is there website




This is an ongoing blog post! h a p p e n i n g n o w
The word Mundus can be traced to Etruscan and Latin roots. It can be defined as "womb and world", "the universe and its inhabitants", and "to keep time"........