Rollingbay Works


Added on by Dan Kowalski.

Mix together just a wee bit of structure, invitations to the extended family, the beginning of Spring, a powerful location and good things are likely to result.  We have found this to be the case a couple of times now.  We've joked about designing a bumper sticker:  "I love La Push".  We do.  The Quiieute tribe has created a first-class offering of cabins on the coast of Washington.  The Olympic National Park has sanctified nearby beaches.  And the Ocean works its magic on human souls with it's timeless, rhythmic roar.  This was a time for us to gather as family and friends.  It might be that we all "dropped in" so easily and thoroughly, because humans have listened to the surf and watched the dancing flames of beach fires since time immemorial.  Grateful we can again.  Now.  This time.

A few of us on a Rialto Beach log

A few of us on a Rialto Beach log

Grasping Climate Change and Extreme Weather

Added on by Dan Kowalski.

Thinking of friends and colleagues in New England and the extreme weather events they've experienced there...  I read a terrific analogy for the interplay between climate change and extreme weather from Michael Mann, a climatologist who directs the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University.  In a recent Huff Post article he compared the record snow storm, along with Super Storm Sandy to a slam-dunk.  "If you take the basketball court and raise it a foot, you're going to see more slam-dunks," Mann said. "Not every dunk is due to raising the floor, but you'll start seeing them happen more often than they ought to."

There you go.  Very clear.  And a sports analogy to boot!

Deconstructing Dams

Added on by Dan Kowalski.

On a chilly afternoon, with promising high-pressure sun breaks, I had a plan to "bust out" and snowshoe in the Olympics.   Unfortunately,  a hapless driver went into the ditch on the road to Hurricane Ridge creating mountain gridlock.  Turning around, I made my way up the Elwha River. 

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In 1910, entrepreneurs dammed the river for hydro-electric power, sure that money could be made. Their bet was that industry would follow and create prosperity for Port Angeles.  To a large extent, this is what happened.  What wasn't built was a required fish passage for the salmon.  So for a century, regal runs of King, Sockeye, Keta, Silver, Pink salmon and Steelhead were blocked from their ancestral spawning grounds.  

But a remarkable thing happened.  A broad coalition of interest groups worked long and hard within the system, and the dams came down.  The mighty Elwha is once again a free-flowing river.  As an ecosystem phenomenon, dam removal on the Elwha is being studied from countless angles.  King salmon have been observed above the dams in broad reaches of the river draining fresh water from Pacific clouds. The facts themselves kindle the imagination.   Human nature runs with wild nature on the waters of the Elwha as deconstruction crews finish their work.


Gallery Space

Added on by Dan Kowalski.

I often playfully think of the gallery space as having it's own unique presence.  As such, imagine the rhythm the space might experience— from subtle to raucously celebratory.  Much of the time the gallery is quiet.  Lights off.  Nothing happening with the exception of weather sounds working the building.  Changes of light.  Perhaps a mouse scampering through the crawl space.  The work on the walls— so patient.

CAC M gallery sz.jpg

Add people— the lights come up, glasses clink with sparkling water and wine.  Think of the play of light now!  Photons stream from the track lights, bounce off the work through the pupils and into retinas of the viewers.  Stimulation!  Up through the optic nerve into the human brain where untold neural pathways cascade with activity.  Meaning is made, even if it is not.  

Gallery spaces are social spaces.  We love gathering together and comparing notes.  A friend suggested the whole experience is akin to ritual space. And indeed it is. The gallery is most content when people engage one another and the work.  This live encounter is the fulfillment of the creative process.  

America, You're Breaking Our Hearts

Added on by Dan Kowalski.

United States of America, beloved country— you build out a massive surveillance system, able to monitor every move we make and every word we electronically speak or write .  This— for our own "safety and protection" and yet we can't, as a country, rein in our millions of guns.   A psychotic break +  guns in the cabinet = unimaginable tragedy.  (To be clear, I have no issues with hunting rifles.  Plenty of issues with automatic weapons.)

With hearts broken open can we gather and talk?  Can we become healthier individuals and families?  Can we come together to build strong and cohesive communities?  Can we make our collective voices heard for a sane, resilient and prosperous nation?  Can we not trash our one and only home?

Yes.  With hearts broken open, let us try.  

Further in:  "Healing the Heart of Democracy" by Parker Palmer.  Articulate, sensible, wise.

Understanding the Fiscal Cliff

Added on by Dan Kowalski.

The fiscal cliff is something that sounds so dire and dramatic.  I've failed miserably in trying to understand the implications of it.  I did, however, enjoy this immensely:  


It's offered up by Robert Reich, a good, dependable (progressive) thinker.  It's also an excellent example of a synthesis of human presence, voice, bold graphics, and graphic recording.