Documenting Drift

The Bruce Peninsula is an idyllic kind of place. All around me I see natural wonders of every description. My surroundings are teeming with plant and animal life. The rock upon which I walk is timeless and immutable in its solidity. The sky is a deeper blue, the sunrises brighter, the sunsets more vivid. This is my experience. And yet, the longer I spend time here the more I know that there is more, and so less. This body of work documents my world this year, the time in which I realized just how much of a negative impact our human presence can have on the very things we love.

I have always had a special affinity for Singing Sands National Park. On the other side of the peninsula bordering Lake Huron it comprises a regionally complex very different environment than that at Dyers Bay. The name itself is entrancing and evocative of something out of the ordinary, incredible! Can sands sing? How does this happen? And, a little ways inland the sands give way to a fen where Pitcher Plants, Sundews and all manner of bonsai-like native plants grow in miniature profusion. Then there are the orchids, some of which are exceedingly rare that can be viewed simply by walking the forest paths. So much to see and appreciate.

But, the Park is quickly becoming a victim of its own success as a destination. The fragile sand dune system that rings the lake is now viewed as part of the ‘beach’. Sunlovers, swimmers both adult and children, kite flyers, dogs and picnickers flood the area all season long. In the end,the sands cannot recover and the plants and animals that call this place home are under seige or, in some cases, gone completely. And so, the sands in this area sing no more. I read an article by someone who studies the singing sand phenomenon world-wide. The only remaining sands that sing are in remote parts of deserts like the Gobi where humans rarely go. The belief is that sands cannot sing once pollution in any form permeates the environment. The foreign coatings that pollution introduces destroy the capacity of the grains of sand to rub together producing a singing sound. This fact underlines the problems we are facing. We all love to experience the benefits of natural surroundings but bring with us things that threaten or actually destroy the place and its inhabitants.

This work documents the sands of change and its victims.

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