09 December 2005


6 Dec:
While this blog isn't supposed to be about my sabbatical project, I can't really get away from writing about it. Especially at this point where we're now visiting what I've been calling "project sites." The "project" itself has been loosely conceived and is more about discovery than anything else. What I've come to understand about what I'm doing, however, is that I've undertaken (or constructed?) a kind of tourism around my past, my childhood specifically. At base, I'm responding to a long-felt urge to re-visit these places--being here/there is both a return and an escape. The poles of both are undefined: coming from where, going to where? The familiar places are running rivers.

What I know at this very moment is that I have developed--or, more accurately, deepened--a fascination with bobbing-head dolls. In addition to my "real" German Shepherds, my bobbing-head shepherd has witnessed all moments of these past months' wandering. I like the way he laughs all the time and agrees with everything I say. Sometimes he agrees even when I'm not saying anything, maybe like he understands what I'm thinking or where I'm at or maybe he's just picking up a vibe. Also, he never gets distracted. And I know he'll never share my secrets (my other shepherds won't either).

I also like that my bobbing-head German Shepherd is a kind of barometer for the road. His state of calmness or agitation reflects, in a way, the quality of the journey. I tell the real German Shepherds when the road is going to get bumpy--and they brace themselves.

Incidentally, for some pictures from southern Illinois, our first project site, go here.

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