`Shards and circles'; author Dancer searches for roots with nature

Daniel Dancer has been on a journey for more than a decade. It's taken him from the prairies of Kansas to the Arctic Circle and home, finally, to Rowena Wilds east of Mosier.

The result is his new book, "Shards & Circles: Artistic Adventures in Spirit and Ecology."

Artist, photographer and writer Dancer will sign his book and present a slide program called "Declaring Sacred Ground: A Guided Slide Experience for Our Apocalyptic Times" at 3 p.m. on March 10 at the CAST Performing Arts Center, 4th and Cascade in Hood River. The presentation is free.

"Shards & Circles" is a series of essays about Dancer's travels as he strives to reconnect our modern age back to its roots with nature. In a series of globetrotting adventures, he finds himself in the midst of some of the world's endangered ecosystems. In these places, he searches for answers and hope for the future. In doing so, he also creates artwork in nature out of both modern and ancient "shards and circles."

In his book Dancer writes, "From remote, wild shorelines to clearcut forests, the shards of industrial culture abound in tangled lengths of wire, tattered fabrics, oil drums, tires, plastic utensils, broken glass, pop tops, rusted engine parts, and the like. But the organic shards of nature still predominate . . . and I derive considerable hope from this. Stones and feathers, seeds and shells, bits of wood and bone, ash and silica, the scat of animals and the leaves of trees: of this we are born and in this we dwell."

And with much of this Dancer creates his "environmental art."

"The book evolved out of growing up in California and experiencing what was happening in the natural world," Dancer said. "We've been living for the last 8,000 years in a patriarchal assault on nature, and it's not sustainable. We need to end this paradigm and begin something new."

Dancer has been a life-long photographer and artist. In the late 1980s he published a coffee table book of photographs titled "The Four Seasons of Kansas."

"The problem with photography is that all images are these little cropped pieces of reality," he said. "A beautiful nature image is not the whole truth." Through doing "environmental art," Dancer has sought to create a larger -- more truthful -- picture.

"In trying to tell the truth, it brought me to this art form," he said. "I began to see how each landscape has its own story to tell."

Dancer will discuss environmental art and show slides of the work his book's essays describe at the presentation. His books will be available for purchase.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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