Over the summer I have been reading Paul Carter’s, Ground Truthing: Explorations in a Creative Region (UWA Publishing, Crawley, Western Australia, 2010). Carter is investigating the particularity of the Mallee region of Victoria – the complex layering of everything that happened in that landscape, and not just the heroic recorded history of white settlement. “The ground is not passive, it is the generative matrix of an understanding that exists solely at that spot – situated, timely and often rubbed out” (p4). It provoked many thoughts for me in regard to how we live in this land, and the ways in which we continue to colonise through how we perceive and speak about the land. I always feel there is a connection between this and the ways in which we speak of, care and live in our bodies.
Carter proposes that we consider assumptions of charted cartographic knowledge and learn about the ways in which we might care for place through an attending to detail and to the local: “… the eye that sees does not have the hard stare of the coloniser: it attends and tends, it leans as the poet hearkens to something on the horizon of definition” (p124). He writes about the layers of delicate lived life informing what lies in the landscape and that each of us contributes to that topography by moving through it. I am moved by this seemingly simple yet profound aesthetic way of creating value around the ways in which we move through our days creating a life, in the landscape and in the world. “Creative regions are polyhedral and the trick in narrating them is to return to various passages between the connecting points, looking not only at the tracks of those who went before, but at your own impressions which now form part of the landscape” (p4).