“Today a little more land may belong to the sea, tomorrow a little less. Always the edge of the sea remains an elusive and indefinable boundary…[where]…only the most hardy and adaptable can survive” –Rachel Carson, The Edge of the Sea (1955).
Jersey Shore residents have responded to Carson’s sentiment for decades, as evidenced by the planting and protection of dune grass, the construction and deconstruction of jetties, and the burial of cars, tires, and debris. An attempt to hold. We have drawn a line in the sand. A line becomes an edge when drawn with stakes.
Superstorm Sandy renegotiated that line—a wash, a surge, an erasure. Our shore exposed. Layers of sediment and sentiment: steel glint wire fray pipe laid frame crust mantle shard sweep burn. Jersey Strong is the bend that never breaks: resilience. Our community has extracted pieces of our lives—debris—from this raw, open wound and begun to suture the space between.
What does it mean to live in a place rendered “indefinable?” To live between breaths; between storms; between waves—a Madhya poetics? In the process of healing and restoration, how do we as individuals and communities navigate this space? We have embodied Carson’s sutra—experienced the shift of sand (both time and space)—now how do we cultivate an acceptance of impermanence to build a sustainable relationship with our land? How do we create roots without attachment? We are the “hardy and adaptable” creatures of the littoral zone: now what?
Littoral: Restore the Shore One Breath at a Time is a gathering designed to create a site of exchange, a dialogue. We are no longer living at the edge of the sea; we are the space between the land and water, our bodies a threshold. Together, we hope to create a practice that processes this experience through body (yoga), earth (ritual), and word (poetry). On Saturday morning June 8th, the Inukshuk Collective will begin its participation in this dialogue with a beach yoga practice, poetry reading, and community ritual in Bay Head, NJ (street T.B.D.). After the gathering, we hope to continue engagement, sharing, and processing through an ecosomatic writing lab on our website: https://inukshukcollectivebodyearthword.wordpress.com/ .
The Inukshuk Collective currently includes three Naropa University graduates: two residing in Boulder, CO and one in Wickford, RI. Each event is designed by an “architect” and implemented through committees and collective effort. To circulate spoken word/verse, the events take us into our environment, our bodies, & our community. Kristen Park is serving as the primary contact and architect for the Jersey Shore Chapter and the Littoral event.
The Inukshuk Collective will be sponsoring this exchange with grant money from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). All events, publications, and resources will be free and open to the public. In addition to the beach gathering and online writing lab, the Inukshuk Collective will donate a set of books to the Ocean County Library to promote ecosomatic literacy. To best serve the health, wellness, spiritual, writing, and educational community of the Jersey Shore, please, let us know what you need. How can we support your organization?
Littoral art practices encourage a dialogic aesthetic, dismantling of hierarchy, and a lifeworld affirming purpose, according to scholar Bruce Barber. The collaborative emphasis of this art movement is what inspired the structure and focus of our debut east coast event. We would like to extend our support to the Jersey Shore community and are open to suggestions on future events, resources, and proposals. Please, join us on Saturday June 8th and contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org; on our blog: https://inukshukcollectivebodyearthword.wordpress.com/ ; or through Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inukshukboulder . We look forward to meeting you!
Jenna Kotch Jade Lascelles Kristen Park