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Ben [Sunshine]
Cartographer
Level 5: 1076 points
Last Logged In: June 24th, 2016
TEAM: BKZerØ TEAM: UCZero TEAM: Verbosely Loquacious Overelaberators BART Psychogeographical Association Rank 3: Cartographer EquivalenZ Rank 1: User Society For Nihilistic Intent And Disruptive Efforts Rank 2: Trickster


15 + 61 points

Mihi by Ben [Sunshine]

July 12th, 2009 2:15 AM

INSTRUCTIONS: In Maori culture, when you formally introduce yourself in a meeting house it is called a "Mihi". You tell people your canoe, tribe, sub-tribe and family, but you ALSO identify specific geological features to which you "belong". For example, "your" lake, mountain, river, forest etc.

Chose at least three geographical features that you consider "yours". Document them.

While I may not have a tribe these days, I still belong to this land. It saddens and confuses me somewhat that I am leaving in August, off to the mysterious Philadelphia (specifically Swarthmore), but... I am comforted knowing that I am a child of the Bay Area. The Bay Area does not abandon its children. Its memories always remain, and it always provides an open and welcoming embrace for many happy returns. I know that as long as I live, I have a home here in the Bay Area.

+Sunshine

- smaller

My canoe: Sunspot

My canoe: Sunspot

My beloved car. A few years back, we took my grandmother to see the new Italian Job. She absolutely loved it, and said sadly that she'd always wanted a Mini, and regretted not getting one when she was young enough to have one. So for her next birthday, we bought her a bright yellow Mini Cooper. She was positively ecstatic. Fast forward three years, and just as she turns too old to drive, I turn old enough to drive, and inherited the car. Sunspot has taken me wonderful places, seen exciting adventures, and always served me brilliantly. I include it here as it takes me to all of these other places, these days.


Paddling Sunspot into the sea.

Paddling Sunspot into the sea.

Inspired by Anomaly.


My road: Grizzly Peak

My road: Grizzly Peak

I have always been fascinated by this road. It runs the backbone of Berkeley, along the top of the ridge. It swoops and curves wildly and dangerously, bordered on one edge by massive Eucalypti and on the other by a sharp drop-off. In the mornings, the fog is often so thick as to give mere feet of visibility. And yet, I feel perfectly comfortable driving it at far faster speeds than most people would consider sane. I've been driving it two or three times a day since I could first drive, and was being driven along it long before then. I have memorized its intricacies, its twists, its favorite surprises, but... more than that, I feel a kinship with the road, an understanding. I know that it will not hurt me, and I trust it with myself. It's a silly thing, certainly, but it feels real to me. I often write stories about this road. Poems. It crops up in my fiction all the time. I love this road.


My mountain

My mountain

This is the hill that forms the backbone of Berkeley, or at least one part of it. I live atop the far end of it, and the vast majority of my memories are on this hill, one part or another of it. I truly do belong to it, heart and soul. I was raised on its steep face; I played as a child in the forests of its back; I drove to school every day for years along its ridgetop; I walked to friends' houses scattered all across its face. I love this hill, this mountain, this ridge, and I know that it loves me in return.


My forest: Tilden

My forest: Tilden

Tilden is a two-thousand-acre wood that covers the backside of my mountain. My house is about a ten minute walk from the edge of it, and I spent much of my childhood running and playing in it. As I grew, I explored more of Tilden, and it came to fill my needs in other ways. I started a Live Action Roleplaying group, and Tilden became our lands for adventures beyond compare. Jewel Lake, Orchard, Lone Oak, Lake Anza, Wildcat Canyon, Inspiration Point... each word, each name conjures images, memories a mile deep and a forest thick. I was raised among the trees of Tilden, and continue to be held aloft in its boughs.


My sanctum: the garden

My sanctum: the garden

My mother has been crafting, orchestrating, and maintaining this garden since my parents bought the house in 1987. It is her labor of love, and it shows. It is a wild garden, with paths running between blooming and overflowing expanses of vibrant and verdant bursts of life. She does not in the least bit believe in manicuring or over-organizing or anything like that. She sows seeds, and then cares for and feeds and comes to know each of her plants as she watches them grow in their own way. She uses them, too, taking their gifts and turning them into further art--she is a master of ikebana, Japanese flower arranging, and uses only flowers she herself grew.


DSCN0781 copy.JPG

Another part of the garden. Once, this was an empty lot next to our house. I still remember playing in the barren dirt, climbing the rocks. Now it too is full of life and energy. I have played in this garden, filmed movies in, camped out in it, and generally lived in it. It is as much my home as the house it surrounds, and just as I belong to the mountain, I belong to this garden.


My world: the Bay Area.

My world: the Bay Area.

This is the view from my terrace. I took a few pictures and stitched them together into a panoramic--the effect is a bit odd, I realize. The view stretches from Alameda at the far left all the way past Richmond at the far right, with San Francisco, Sausalito, and Marin visible across the Bay. I have watched over these cities and this world for eighteen--almost nineteen--years, and I never get tired of it. The view is always unique, always interesting. The sky lights up with golden fire in the evenings, and the mornings bring sweeping greyscale monuments of clouds. The nights are lit by the city itself, glowing with a thousand points of light and life. This is my world. I love it, and I belong to it. I am, to the heart and soul, a child of the Bay Area.



15 vote(s)



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13 comment(s)

nice
posted by Samantha on July 12th, 2009 2:39 PM

I like your thoroughness

(no subject)
posted by Ben [Sunshine] on July 12th, 2009 2:41 PM

Thank you! I feel that if I am going to do a Task, I should do it properly and to the fullest of my ability.

+Sunshine

(no subject)
posted by Goddess of Doom and Thievery on July 12th, 2009 6:52 PM

Sunspot is the most epic canoe ever.

BTW my dad apologizes.

(no subject)
posted by Ben [Sunshine] on July 13th, 2009 11:02 AM

::laughs:: Apology accepted? I continue to have had a good laugh. Hopefully tonight I will get a chance to post the signs... I still have not! It's terrible!

+Sunshine

(no subject)
posted by Goddess of Doom and Thievery on July 13th, 2009 2:41 PM

Haha I figured something to that effect was why it hadn't been posted yet.

(no subject) +1
posted by Anomaly on July 13th, 2009 10:28 AM

Kinda had my fingers crossed for a photo of you paddling Sunspot...

(no subject)
posted by Ben [Sunshine] on July 13th, 2009 11:02 AM

Keep them crossed. I'll see what I can do. (If only I still had that frond--!)

EDIT: And sure enough...
5688_109168572745_616172745_2686849_8102399_n.jpg
It's not very effective...
5688_109168607745_616172745_2686852_7608377_n.jpg

+Sunshine

(no subject)
posted by saille is planting praxis on July 14th, 2009 7:15 AM

I am in love with that garden.

(no subject)
posted by Ben [Sunshine] on July 14th, 2009 8:42 AM

If you ever come to Berkeley, feel free to visit! My mother loves giving tours of it. As do I, for that matter.

+Sunshine

(no subject)
posted by The Hammer on July 18th, 2009 10:42 PM

Ben. This task in it's own struck me immediately as a beautiful idea. Then this. Because I am still so new to your writings it still comes as a shock to me each time I read one and I, in the absolute strongest sense of the phrase, understand. With these not only did I see what you were saying so very clearly in my self but I also saw very clearly in it you. I- I will talk to you about this later.

(no subject) +1
posted by artmouse on July 27th, 2009 2:34 PM

i'm disappointed the 'paddling' pictures were not included in the -actual- praxis!

bryce told me of your mis/adventures involving that paddle :P

(no subject) +1
posted by Ben [Sunshine] on July 27th, 2009 6:20 PM

Everyone who gets in my car these days asks me why I have a paddle in my car. It's an excellent conversation piece, let me tell you.

+Sunshine

(no subject)
posted by Bryce on July 27th, 2009 6:45 PM

If that paddle EVER leaves sunshine...I'll know.
Don't you dare mistreat mah baby!