Sense of Place

Sandra and I have lived on the same land all of our lives and each of our homes are unique.  The Matheson Farm has rolling fields of healthy grass, a beautiful home that her father built and generations of cattle that she has continued to develop and nurture from her father’s original herd.  I have my aging forest of Douglas Fir and Cedars, the icy Mitchell Creek and my old house and buildings built by my Great Grandfather 130 years ago.   Our homes are now ancestral and to some this may seem like an idyllic life; to others, the epitome of a boring, stuck life.  I admit, when I was younger, the last thing I wanted to do was wander about in the same, familiar place as we both got older.  Indeed, we do get old and every year we witness the seasonal decay of a wooden fence-post, the struggle of a light-hungry Hemlock amongst his larger brothers, or a Spring calf growing, aging and finally passing on.   A part of our human nature is to wish for lightness and to move about the heavy throb of time detached and blissful.  I spent a lot of time traveling in this way, to other countries, in books and in conversation—in search of adventure and knowledge. Certainly, I found what I was looking for.  Yet, even when we travel to new places each of us can sense amongst the freshness a troublesome familiarity: the muskiness of history and the sense that every place has an old life.  This depth would often catch me up and bring me down to earth in such a way that I could not scan over dramatic landscapes or stunning architecture without a wistful melancholy.  I began to realize that with each new journey I brought with me a sense of place that invited heaviness and intimacy.   I could imagine that I had lived an entire lifetime among strange, new people, buildings, roads and fields.   I slowed my pace to look closely at the land, under bridges, in sunlit, old faces, laughs, tears, angers and hopes.  Yes, we were separate, and through my own ties and belongings we were connected.  I later realized that this way of feeling and seeing was very useful in writing, storytelling and art of all variety.

Most recently Sandra and I have brought our sense of place into the art of filmmaking.  I believe that we have the unique ability to find personal connections to place; people, ideas and causes.  These connections show poignantly through our films.  It isn’t always an easy or fun process, but it is deeply rewarding and surprisingly effective.

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