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Visioning the Upper Delaware River Corridor   
The landscape mind


Ten years ago, I started my theatre company, NACL, in New York City. Eight years ago this week, NACL took over the old Catskill Actors Theatre in Highland Lake, NY. For the next five years I, along with co-founder Tannis Kowalchuk, would come up to Sullivan County, mostly on weekends throughout the year, and for entire summers to host the NACL Catskill Festival of New Theatre.

I remember those first journeys so clearly. I would leave New York City on a Friday afternoon, and arrive here at night. Every time I rounded the final bend on Highland Lake Road, I would experience the same feeling—wondering if the old, wooden church-turned-theatre would still be standing, if the old Lakewood House resort hotel-turned-artist-residence would still be there.

It always was, megalithic, silent, waiting, empty. Over the course of my stay, my senses would open up. A peace would come upon me, and my inner rhythm would change. There was always a daunting amount of work to be done, but somehow it never became frantic. There was always a sense of placidity about it all. When I returned to the city, it was a different city. I would enter it, wide-eyed and slow, and for the first little stretch of time, people—on the streets, on the subway, in shops—would look at me, and it always felt that they recognized something in me, that somehow I stood out to them, as a foreigner might appear, an emissary of silence.

Soon, this feeling would fade, and I would enter back into my common city rhythm, churning along with the flow of my fellow urban cohabitants. But since I have come to live here in Sullivan County full-time, my trips to the city are much less frequent, and the Catskills rhythm has become the norm for me.

What can it be that enters into a person in this way? Where does it reside? I am the same, but I have changed. Has my pulse slowed? Is there somehow more space in between my cells...?

I think people tend to view themselves as units, moving through a landscape, seeing it, discerning features, perceiving subtleties. Even on those occasions when we feel “at one” with our surroundings, there is still often a sense of being separate from them. “I am me, here in this place... .” Of course, we are materially distinct from other matter, but perhaps our vision of our relationship to it is unrealistic. Perhaps it might be more accurate to say that we are the location. I am the landscape, or an inextricable part of it, and if I allow myself to be open, I can enter into a unison of mind with it—a dance—that which I perceive becomes me.

This type of alteration of awareness usually occurs over time, by a process like osmosis—my consciousness absorbs the world around it and assimilates. But do we really need time to pass to be able to accomplish this change? Would it not be possible to perform this process instantaneously, like flipping a switch? I am here. I have flipped the switch in my mind. Here I am, simply and fully.

I no longer need to travel two hours to remind myself to see. In this moment, I am sitting on a boulder in the woods. The wind blows through my frame. I taste it with my eyes. A black crow slants across a patch of blue from green to green, through a streak of brilliance. I squint, content and curious. In this moment, I am sitting on a bench. A cyclist races past in multi-colored Lycra, clanking over ruptured asphalt. A pigeon’s coo finds my ear. The hair on my neck flutters up. I turn my head slightly, and I squint, content and curious. In this moment, I am perched at a desk, air-conditioner humming, fluorescent flickering, tips of my fingers caressing the plastic keys. I peer at the screen. I squint, content and curious.

I am not just in this place. It is not just in me. I have become it, and there can be no location without my own space sharing this moment with it. Sullivan County has given me many gifts, but this one ranks above the rest: the space between things is between me like my bones are branches; its wind wraps and unwinds me.

(Brad Krumholz is co-founder and Artistic Director of North American Cultural Laboratory (NACL Theatre) in Highland Lake, NY.)

October 29, 2009
WES GILLINGHAM: The Catskills' future is up to us
September 3, 2009
JEFFREY MOORE: Destroying it won't 'save'it
August 6, 2009
BARBARA LEWIS: Trees: a legacy and a future
July 9, 2009
SARAH CUTLER: Share the road
June 11, 2009
SUSAN SCOTT: The democratization of information
May 14, 2009
MICHAEL CHOJNICKI: A turning point
April 16, 2009
JOHN CONWAY: Dual-mode transportation
March 19,2009
February 19, 2009
JEFFREY SEEDS: One-sidedness
January 17, 2009
TOM HOLMES: Taking back the power
December 25, 2008
TINA PALACEK: When a community is really a family

November 27, 2008
STEPHANIE TURNER: Gas drilling from a realtor's perspective
October 30, 2008
SUSAN SULLIVAN: From visiong to reality: the role of local government
October 2, 2008
MARY BETH WOOD: Investing in career and technical education
September 4, 2008
JOE LEVINE: When compromise is a recipe for disaster
August 7, 2008
VIDAL MARTINEZ: The Upper Delaware experience
July 10, 2008
WES GILLINGHAM: Sticking together
June 12, 2008
LINDA COBB: The Harmony Project
May 15, 2008
Barbara Arrindell: Looking back
April 17, 2008
JO CLEARWATER: Welcome to the new world
March 20, 2008
JONATHAN F. ROUIS: Out of many, one
February 21, 2008
MIKE URETSKY: Mired in gas
January 24, 2008
Some visionaries look at 2008
October 4, 2007
Greg Swarz: Coming Home
September 6, 2007
Jim Serio: Educating the Delaware River Basin
August 9, 2007
Stephanie Streeter: Still endangered?
July 26, 2007
Molly Rodgers: Be informed, be connected
July 12, 2007
Brad Krumholz: The landscape mind
June 28, 2007
John Bunting: Milk price and power
June 14, 2007
Brian Smith: It's time to work and worry
May 31, 2007
Carol Roig: Celebrating history close to home
May 17, 2007
Debbie Smorto: Be a part of the solution
April 19, 2007
Robert Dadras: Creating a new direction for Sullivan County
April 5, 2007
Dave Williams: Save your local dairy farm
March 22, 2007
R.A. Dubensky: Losing our future
March 8, 2007
Dave Williams: Save your local dairy farm
February 22, 2007
Troy Bystrom: Conserve to preserve
February 8, 2007
Alegra Jennings: Do you see what I see?
January 18, 2007
Amy Gruzesk: A new alliance for business in Pike
January 11, 2007
Grace Wildermuth: Our rural environment must be preserved

December 28, 2006
John Jose: Meeting the challenges of stormwater management
December 14, 2006
Daniel Kennedy: Making memories in Pike County
November 30, 2006
Stephen Stuart: Sustainable Solutions
November 16, 2006
Linda Cobb: The Harmony Project
November 2, 2006
Judy Harlan: What municipalities can do about flooding
October 19, 2006
Samuel Jackson: Walking the talk
October 5, 2006
Jay Epstein: The foundations of a viable plan
September 14, 2006
Tom Kane: The clean water act
September 7, 2006
Skip Mendler: A community of communities
August 24, 2006
FREDERICA LEIGHTON: Flood reality: vision or the lack of it
August 10, 2006
DICK RISELING: A vision of actions
July 27, 2006
PAT CARULLO AND MARCIA NEHEMIAH: Red plus blue equals green
July 13, 2006
Neal Halloran: Greenway: a program whose time has come
June 29, 2006
Steven Sharoff: Strong visions can change the world
June 15, 2006
Heinrich Strauch: Cooking up a vision
June 1, 2006
Jennifer C.S. Brylinski: The IDA keeps to its vision
May 18, 2006
Norma and Bob Santee: Maintaining our environment
May 4, 2006
Don Parry: The “vision thing”
April 20, 2006
Joe Walsh: Keeping farms a mainstay of Sullivan County
April 6, 2006
Heather Brown: Why I came here, and what keeps me here
March 23, 2006
Pat Carullo: We are with the program
March 09, 2006
Helen Budrock: The power of proactive thinking
February 23, 2006
Carol Collier: A basin-wide collaboration
February 9, 2006
Barbara Leo: A birding trail for the Upper Delaware
January 26, 2006
Virginia Kennedy: Our vision—economic and environmental sustainability
January 12, 2006
Tom Zeterburg: At the crossroads of two rivers
December 29, 2005
Sally Corrigan: Hallmarks of a successful community
December 15, 2005
“Better Models for Development” scores a hit - a compilation by Tom Kane and the Visioning Committee
December 1, 2005
Brian Stuart: Protecting an amazing backyard resource
November 17, 2005
John LiGreci: The need for a master plan
November 3, 2005
Tom Kane: The need for intelligent land use practices
October 20, 2005
Michael Chojnicki: The need for intelligent land use practices
October 6, 2005
Alan Schadt: The Town of Highland through a crystal ball
September 22, 2005
Ernie Mattern: Comprehensive Planning in Damascus
September 8, 2005
Jerry DaBrescia: Visioning in Hancock
August 25, 2005
Neal Halloran: Ways to secure open space
August 11, 2005
Clem Fullerton: Flow woes
August 11, 2005
Tom Kane: Options for preserving open space
July 28, 2005
Charlie Buterbaugh: Fishing Days Gone
July 28, 2005
George Fluhr: What's special about this place
June 30, 2005
Tom Kane: There are many visions in the river valley
June 30, 2005
Mary Curtis: My vision for the Upper Delaware River
June 16, 2005
Sarah Sutto-Plunz: It depends on us
June 16, 2005
Green buildings: a healthy revolution in the construction industry
June 2, 2005
Pat Carullo: If horses can fly, rivers can speak!
May 19, 2005
Laurie Stuart: A view from the ridge
April 21, 2005
Rosie Starr: Preserving the Beauty of the Delaware River Valley
April 7, 2005
Robert Burrow: Developing a plan takes study
March 24, 2005
Tom Kane: Comprehensive Plan: The Key to the Future
March 10, 2005
Katharine Dodge: We have a choice: aggressiveness or fairness
February 24, 2005
Editorial: A tide in the affairs of men
February 24, 2005
Jim Greier: Let’s not put our eggs in one basket
February 10, 2005
Elliot Zucker: A voice for private property rights
January 27, 2005
Steve Daley : Visions of business growth and home ownership
January 13, 2005
Laura Quigley : Living and working in the land of plenty
December 30, 2004
Dr. Martin Handler : My list of visions
December 16, 2004
Dr. Bruce Getzan : Bringing harmony to contrasting visions
December 2, 2004
Sally Talaga : Visioning’s first step
November 18, 2004
Michele Ulmer : Be involved before it’s too late
November 4, 2004
Marcia Nehemiah: It's all about the river
October 21, 2004
John Drobysh: Balancing preservation with property rights
October 7, 2004
Jeffrey Moore: Raising the standards in the river valley
September 23, 2004
Dimitri Zaimes: The right and wrong of the Upper Delaware September 9, 2004
Frederica Leighton: Combining hindsight, foresight, present awareness and action
August 26, 2004
Krista Gromalski: Turning the Conversation Up
August 12, 2004
Jo Clearwater: Visioning
July 29, 2004
Noel Van Swol: What about Property Rights?
July 15, 2004
Cindy Wildermuth: A call for stewardship
July 1, 2004
Tom Kane: Taking stock of the visioning process
June 17, 2004
Dick Riseling: Sustainability and justice is at the heart of vision
June 3, 2004
Peter Pinchot: Exurban sprawl or livable communities?