I am winding down the photography part of this project. I’m not stopping altogether but I have enough photos for my handmade books, for an exhibit, for me to study and contemplate what to do next. There are still sites I want to visit but I can now do them leisurely, weaving them into other work that I am doing.
The first mounds book, “groundwork”, is finished. I am nearing completion of another one about Poverty Point. I have a local exhibit of this work scheduled for December. So it feels like I am finally able to stop, catch my breath and look back at where I have been, what I have seen and what I have learned.
And there is one thought that has stayed with me throughout this project. And that is the idea that this earth really is shared. The changes that the mound builders made on the landscape are still here; they can be seen by us all these centuries later. And while I stand on the ground that they moved and shaped and built, I know that people in the future will stand on what we leave behind.
And because of that I feel a greater responsibility, a greater awareness of our effects on the planet. If a pile of dirt can last for 5000 years, how long will a pile of plastic water bottles last? I know, I know, we hear dire reports of our destructive impact on the planet every day. But whether or not I believe all of them or become alarmed by them or change my way of life because of them, I think about them even more because of this project. I consider more seriously what effect I have on the earth that I pass over every day. And I think more about what I want to leave behind.
Because our changes to the earth really do last.
Mound A, Poverty Point, 1700-1100 BC.