El tema central de este Blog es LA FILOSOFÍA DE LA CABAÑA y/o EL REGRESO A LA NATURALEZA o sobre la construcción de un "paradiso perduto" y encontrar un lugar en él. La experiencia de la quietud silenciosa en la contemplación y la conexión entre el corazón y la tierra. La cabaña como objeto y método de pensamiento. Una cabaña para aprender a vivir de nuevo, y como ejemplo de que otras maneras de vivir son posibles sobre la tierra.

domingo, 8 de julio de 2012

Paisaje y cabaña, lugares de permanencia de Ana María Spagna

I'd grown up in California, in the vast sprawling outer edges of Los Angeles, suburbs of suburbs of suburbs. And I'd come to the North Cascades to escape it..."

Ana Maria Spagna
©Mike Barnhart

Ana Maria Spagna (MA, Northern Arizona University) is a freelance writer and day laborer in Stehekin, Washington. Her first book, Now Go Home: Wilderness, Belonging, and the Crosscut Saw (Oregon State University Press), was named one of the Best Books of 2004 by The Seattle Times.

Ana Maria Spagna

Many of us dream of ditching civilization, of following in the footsteps of Gauguin or Thoreau or Oliver Wendall Douglas (from the old Green Acres sitcom). Gotham Memoir teacher Ana Maria Spagna is one of the few who has actually done it. Ana Maria lives in a remote part of the Pacific Northwest, along Lake Chelan in Washington state, with no roads in or out and no telephone access, landline or mobile.
She grew up in Riverside California, which she calls “the smoggiest city in the whole USA.” As a teenager, she visited the wilds of the Pacific Northwest and caught a whole new view of the world. She fell in love with the green forests, blue sky, and even the continual rain, and vowed “If I ever made it back, I wouldn’t leave.”
Ana Maria on a trail crew with a chainsaw
After 15 years maintaining trails in the wilderness areas of the West,
Ana Maria is as capable with a chainsaw as she is with a pen.
©Mike Barnhart
Ana Maria stayed true to that vow. After college, she got a job with the National Park Service, maintaining trails in the North Cascades. She fit right in. Whenever she ran into a black bear, she’d give a friendly hello with a chainsaw and they’d leave her alone. Eventually she bought a cabin accessible only by boat or float plane, settled down with her partner Laurie, and there she spends her time writing, teaching, and continuing her love affair with the land.
She doesn’t have a TV and claims not to miss much about civilization, with the possible exception of live music and beer on tap. One a typical day, she writes in the morning; spends the afternoon hiking, running, or splitting wood; and devotes her evenings to her students. Nice work if you can get it. Or stand it, depending on your perspective.
A few years back, Ana Maria published Now Go Home, a memoir about her journey into the middle of nowhere. She’s now at work on a kind of sequel, Saw Chips in My Bra, which tells her story of staying put out there. She bristles at being called a “nature writer,” though. Her taste extends to fiction and poetry and she treasures the urbane wit of such writers as David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell.
She also adores teaching. Once or twice a year, she does it the old fashioned way, conducting classes in a one-room schoolhouse for Flick Creek Workshops. And year-round, she does it the 21st century way, teaching online classes for Gotham, where from her cabin outpost she communes with students scattered in the cities and villages all over the globe. What would Thoreau think?

Spanish Translator:

Muchos de nosotros soñamos con abandonar la civilización, de seguir los pasos de Gauguin o de Thoreau o Oliver Wendell Douglas (del viejo de Green Acres comedia de situación). Ana María Spagna es uno de los pocos que realmente lo ha hecho. Ana María vive en una parte remota del noroeste del Pacífico, a lo largo de Lake Chelan, en el estado de Washington, sin carreteras y sin acceso telefónico, fijo o móvil.
Ella creció en Riverside, California, al que llama "la ciudad más contaminada de todo EE.UU.". Cuando era adolescente, visitó las selvas del noroeste del Pacífico y alcanzó una nueva visión del mundo. Ella se enamoró de los bosques verdes, cielo azul, e incluso de la lluvia continua, y prometió "Si alguna vez vuelvo, nadie me lo impedirá".
Ana María se mantuvo fiel a ese juramento. Después de la universidad, consiguió un trabajo en el Servicio de Parques Nacionales, el mantenimiento de senderos en las cascadas del norte... Con el tiempo compró una cabaña que sólo era accesible por barco o hidroavión, se instaló con su pareja Laurie, y pasó su tiempo escribiendo, enseñando y continuando con su historia de amor con la tierra.
No tiene televisor y afirma que no se pierda mucho de la civilización, con la posible excepción de la música en vivo y la cerveza de barril. Un día típico, escribe por la mañana, pasa la tarde caminando, corriendo o cortando madera, y dedica las noches a sus estudiantes. Buen trabajo si puedes conseguirlo...
Hace unos años, Ana María publicó Ahora vete a casa , un libro de memorias sobre su viaje en el medio de la nada. Ahora está trabajando en una especie de secuela, Saw Chips in My Bra, que cuenta su propia historia de quedarse donde está. Ella cerdas en ser llamada "escritora de la naturaleza", sin embargo su gusto se extiende a la ficción y a la poesía, y admira el ingenio urbano de escritores como David Sedaris y Vowell Sarah.
Ella también adora a la enseñanza. Una o dos veces al año, lo hace a la manera antigua, la realización de clases en una escuela de una sola habitación para Talleres Creek Flick. Y durante todo el año, lo hace a la manera del siglo 21, la enseñanza de clases en online, donde desde su puesto de avanzada cabina de ella se conecta con los alumnos repartidos en las ciudades y pueblos de todo el mundo. ¿Qué piensa Thoreau?

Stehekin snow
Deep snow in the Stehekin Valley.
©Mike Barnhart 

"I visited the Magic Kingdom thirty-seven times before I turned nineteen, and by then I craved something, anything, that would be the antithesis of Disney, the real thing. That’s what I found on the highway: places you can count on, places where in the morning without fail, there will be coffee at the gas station heading out of town….[and] people who….were honest, if quirky, and unexpectedly generous, and they lived an ethic that the land itself, no matter how pretty, can’t teach…..The Golden Rule.”

“These places…wilderness areas, national parks – are supposed to transform us, make us new…..they do not continuously dispense spiritual wowness like a fountain….I stripped myself of everything to be out there–out there!–and the problem with being out there is that then it is not out there anymore. It is more like in here….you can’t be made new at home.”
 Quotes are from Now Go Home: Wilderness, Belonging, and the Crosscut Saw, by Ana Maria Spagna, Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, 2004.

"I live in a very remote area of the Pacific Northwest where we do not have telephones, not even cell phones! Don't worry, we’re not some kind of crazy isolationists, and I have not always lived such an insular life. I was born in Bogotá, Colombia where my mom was on a Fulbright scholarship and my dad was working on various social justice causes. After that exotic start, I landed in the suburbs, in Riverside, California, sixty miles east of Los Angeles. A bookish kid who liked sports but knew nothing about the outdoors, I never camped until, as a teenager, I traveled to Oregon and — well, there's no other way to say it — I fell in love. I loved the green forests and the blue sky and even the rain, and I swore that, if I ever made it back, I'd never leave. And that's how it worked. Sort of. After college in Oregon, and a short stint at Canyonlands in Utah, I settled for an unsettled life, working each summer maintaining trails in the North Cascades, and moving every winter.
All this time I was writing. Between trail crew seasons, I returned to graduate school to earn a degree in creative writing at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. I started submitting my writing, and my work began to be published, first in small regional journals, then in bigger national magazines. About ten years ago, my partner, Laurie, and I were able to sink some roots. We bought land and built a cabin here in this tiny mountain town. The story of doing so became my first book.
My second book, Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus: A Daughter’s Civil Rights Journey, was named winner of the 2009 River Teeth literary nonfiction prize. The book explores my father’s involvement in the early civil rights movement, and it’s complicated, in part, by the fact that my dad died when I was eleven. The five-year process of researching and writing the manuscript proved to be an emotional roller coaster, exhausting and ultimately rewarding.
My newest book Potluck: Community on the Edge of Wilderness returns to the Pacific Northwest (with a couple of stops along the way) to explore the ways that our relationships with people and places grow intertwined over time, tangled even. In the very best way.
Because of where I live, I sometimes can't escape the Nature Writer label. But I usually cringe. While, sure, I've been influenced by writers such as John McPhee, Wendell Berry, and Rick Bass, my favorite writers are those from anywhere — everywhere — with razor wits, incisive minds, and generous hearts. I read fiction and poetry. But my first love is nonfiction. I revere Joan Didion and James Baldwin. I follow Henrick Hertzberg in The New Yorker fanatically. And I devour humorists like David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell.
About Stehekin
Stehekin is a remote community in the North Cascades in north-central Washington State accessible only by trail, boat, or float plane. We’re surrounded by North Cascades National Park and almost two million acres of federally designated Wilderness (Glacier Peak, Paysayten, Stephen Mather, and Chelan/Sawtooth Wilderness Areas). About a hundred people live here year-round. We get several hundred-degree days each summer and an average of a hundred inches of snow each winter. We have no grocery stores, movie theaters, taverns or churches, but we do have an outstanding bakery, a must-stop for everybody, especially hikers that come through town each year on the Pacific Crest Trail. Come visit. If not for the scenery, for the cinnamon rolls. (...)
Web site Ana Maria Spagna:(http://www.anamariaspagna.com/about.html)

Lake Chelan aerial photo
Stehekin sits at the head of Lake Chelan, a glacier-fed lake
which meanders through the North Cascades Mountains.
©Mike Barnhart

Now Go Home: Wilderness, Belonging, and the Crosscut Saw by Ana Maria Spagna.
Oregon State University Press. 2004.

Now Go Home tells the story of how a quintessential California girl ended up earning her living in the Pacific Northwest with a crosscut saw. Ana Maria Spagna came of age in southern California in the "hot-pink eighties." By the time she turned nineteen, she had visited Disneyland thirty-seven times and was ready to hit the road. In these finely edged essays, she takes her readers along.

With candor, wit, and hard-earned wisdom, Spagna reflects on the journey that took her from a childhood in the suburbs of LA to a trail crew in the North Cascades, where she falls in love with a place and, unexpectedly, with a woman. With days spent laboring as the only woman on a trail crew and evenings in a cabin no larger than Thoreau's, she has world enough and time to wrestle with the compromises and contradictions of making "a life in the woods." From the work she does and the people she meets, she comes to see the nuances, and occasionally the humor, of big ideas like wilderness and environmentalism. And she decides this is the place she must call home.


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