Saturday, June 13, 2020

World Listening Day 2020 - The Collective Field, Reflections & Recordings by Norman W. Long

You are invited to participate in World Listening Day 2020, an annual global event held every July 18.
This year’s theme is THE COLLECTIVE FIELD created by Wild Sanctuary Vice President, Katherine Krause.

The Collective Field
There is something new afoot. The field itself is changing.
The creature world knows.  The creative one does too. 
So what does it mean now to listen? How do we express what we know?
Be alert.
Individually and in concert,
There is sanctity in it.
Amid new conditions, travel the field and explore
By call and response
The rhythm within. 
How does your song fit
Within the collective chorus?

World Listening Day 2020 - The Collective Field: Thoughts & Recordings by Norman W. Long:

I do not know what it means to listen now. But it is a good question as I sit and listen to a community isolated from the rest of the city of Chicago. I live in South Deering, a community on the south-east side of Chicago. It is a majority Black and Brown community that straddles residential, industrial and wasted space. Single family homes surrounded by land fills, factories, rail yards, brown fields, and un/underused industrial structures. Most work sites are still open (if they haven't been abandoned due to disinvestment), many in the community have been given essential (sacrificial) worker status leaving themselves vulnerable to COVID-19 while many others are unemployed due to work stoppages and lay-offs. During the isolation order, I was able to walk and record my local nature trail. This trail opened in my neighborhood last fall. It was converted from an open space wetland/prairie with no community access to Marian R. Byrnes Park on the south-east side of Chicago with walking trails. The prairie is located between a residential neighborhood and a large rail yard. It was my intention along with my creative partner Sara Zalek to lead a soundwalk at Byrnes Park before the stay at home order was implemented. I’ve led several soundwalks here in Chicago and elsewhere. One of the exercises I introduce to the group before we start our walk is a breathing exercise where we focus on our breath by concentrating on our inhalations and exhalations. Before I did any walking meditation or performing, I started with breathing exercises. That was the foundation for my practice of self-care, listening, composing and performing. Disconnection is a process. That process is fueled by white supremacy and capitalism. African Americans experience and witness this disconnection to our environment, economy, sense of self and place. With these walks we are brought back to our bodies, our time and our space. I invite you to listen as part of the collective field because as we listen and sound we expand our awareness of our connection and disconnection. 
This mindfulness practice of breathing brought me back to the COVID-19 respiratory virus, and the murder of George Floyd. Both of these instances African Americans are more vulnerable to contract the virus and more likely to be murdered by police.  There is also the fact that most areas with high rates of air pollution and toxicity are overwhelmingly poor and African-American. When we breathe we are mindful of our mind/body/land connection, our connection to each other and our connection to those who cannot breathe. We can breathe for them and listen to the streets, the noises and disruptions and join in the chorus that demands justice for Black and Brown people all over the world.

Marian R. Byrnes Park, Chicago, IL May 06, 2020


1 comment:

Katherine Krause said...

Thank you for this resonant and welcome expression. Might you please also share it (hopefully in it's entirety) to the WLP site as a 'comment'? I believe you can add a link back to your post or site, as well. Try it here:

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