People celebrating community through nature ...
Puget Sound Parent, April, 2002|
Excerpts from "Celebrating our connection with the natural world," by Paula Rudberg Lowe
Our canvas was a clean white sheet. My inspiration was a scrap of fabric with a ladybug design on it. My sonís inspiration was a book of line drawings of insects. Together we drew, painted and stitched our giant windsocks for our contribution to the Procession of the Species Celebration. We proudly carried our bamboo poles with windsocks waving high above everyoneís heads during the Procession. We felt connected.
There is much to be done: African and Middle Eastern music and dances to learn, wild animals to make of papier-mache, batik flags to create and rhythm shakers to put together.
The Procession is Olympiaís unique artistic and environmental celebration that gives people the opportunity to create their artistic vision of nature. When more than 2,200 people share their creations, itís a cosmic experience.
"We donít call it a parade," explains Eli Sterling, director of Earthbound Productions. "When people conquer, they parade; when people are liberated, they process."
The Procession, organized by Sterling, manager Jeannette Susor, and over 100 volunteers from the community, is really a two-month exchange, not a one-day event, says Sterling. The exchange happens when people build and share their creations at schools, homes, churches or at the Procession Community Art Studio.
Jason "Rhino" Tisher and friends made a life-size papier-mache rhinoceros named Kifaru, which was inspired by Tisherís photo safari to Kenya. Tisher said he enjoyed making a positive impact in his community especially one with an environmental message.
The three Procession rules are designed to "rely on our own energies to create," tells Sterling. Inspiration can be found in the array of recycled and new art supplies or during a class on how to make an animal mask, a drum, or a batik banner.
Nearby in the old gym, drummers, and dancers rehearse for their part in the Procession--providing the beat.
The Procession mission teaches people to respect, honor and protect the environment. "The beautiful thing about nature is that itís a constant reflection back to us that there is a miracle out there," reflects Sterling. "Itís also a reflection of who we are."
When the Procession ends, the memories and art live on. The ladybug windsock flies in the wind at home and the insect windsock bears a first place award from the county fair. Both are visions of the species and beautiful reminders to be good to our Earth.
(Paula Rudberg Lowe is a freelance writer and a proofreader for Northwest Parent Publishing.)