If I were to see the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant a thousand times, would it cease to be the oddly shaped, dark obstacle on Niantic Bay that limits the sweep of the land? Would it ever be reduced in importance, be something that the eyes don’t glance over quickly, spilling and tumbling in their haste to reach clear water, lower land, a tree, a bird, the updraft of the on-shore winds? Or does Millstone frame Niantic Bay, make it what it is, prevent it from being something different entirely? There is no romanticism here. Niantic Bay at Millstone does not look like Cobscook Bay or Merrymeeting Bay or any other bay that I know. It is a shimmering plate of elevated water, a raised dish, a gleaming or opaque surface depending on the day. Niantic Bay is framed by Black Point and Millstone Point; it is the eastern-most part of Long Island Sound. A spit of land, The Bar, connects Black Point peninsula and Great Neck, at the end of which is Goshen Point, a wild, wind-swept bump of land jutting out into the open Atlantic, framing one entrance to New London Harbor.

Speculation allows the mind to develop its territory, to wind around the obvious obstacles to comprehension. No one speaks of allegorical spaces anymore. Space is for building or buying or enjoying. It cannot have another purpose; everyone agrees the protection, consumption, and pleasure are important aspects of human life. In any case, the spaces created by Niantic Bay and the surrounding land could be seen from another perspective. I find, however, the same peculiar confusion of space in Niantic that is present at Wyldewood, Ontario, on the Erie shore. The land is so crisscrossed with buildings and streets that the fibers of the land seem to be been removed. It is only by instinct that one can comprehend the form of the land. One knows that the present configuration is not an integral part of the land. One comprehends that it has supplanted the basic land forms, and in so doing, has effaced certain essential aspects of the geography. Any attempt at physical cartography is limited to sight and motion. Certain elements are congruent, others jar, are displaced from their context or from their foundation. The result is visual confusion, and then, philosophical perplexity.

Wyldewood, Ontario, exists outside its present context. It cannot possibly inhabit the space that one sees now. It is simply there or here, depending on one’s perspective. When I look at that part of the Erie shore, I see it with no filter. Later, removed from the site physically, I reflect on what I know of Wyldewood. I have no context for Niantic Bay. It exists as it is or appears to be. Perhaps a context will emerge in time, or perhaps I will never find any other foundation for that land form. A simple physical map of the area is emerging, allowing me to situate places and to arrange them in a loosely constructed way. Walking, driving, reading the map itself furnishes this information. But what am I really talking about?

The manner in which we create the world. Our form of apprehending reality and constructing a livable space. Allegorical? Metaphoric? There is no meaning “in” the world, no “sense” to be interpreted by people. The planet is its own entity and exists in accordance with its own rules. We are, as everyone knows, part of it. However, in order to live a whole life, we must learn how to make it part of us.

Scrutinizing physical land forms and bodies of water in order to learn their organization allows us to grapple with primary reality without falling back on the fallacy of interpretation. Rock is rock and has its own history. Water is water and also has its history. We live between rock and water, in and among trees and grasses, with and alongside of birds, insects, amphibians, animals, and fish. What is in the mind of a fish? The knowledge of water? The necessity of movement? The transitions between hot and cold, slow and fast? And in a bird’s mind? Flight? Light? Movement? Our minds probe, analyze, resist, encompass. A fish-mind or a bird-mind simply is.




Andrea Moorhead




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