Guerrilla Interpretation – Do It Yourself


Jamaican weevil (Lachnopus sp.) by Ted Lee Eubanks
Jamaican weevil (Lachnopus sp.) by Ted Lee Eubanks

One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain’t nothin’ can beat teamwork. Edward Abbey

There is really no limit to interpretative subjects within our chosen world of nature, history, and culture (blandly known as heritage). But, often the subjects that are the most important to our interpretation are among the most obscure. How do we bring that which is hidden or concealed to the attention of the world?

An Ignominious Fate

Bee Bombed by Ted Lee Eubanks
Bee Bombed by Ted Lee Eubanks

How did life come to be left out of Austin’s future?

Hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornados are considered forces of nature. With these, we expect the worst. A force of nature, beyond our control, is to be feared.

Life itself is a force of nature. Life, as a force, is inexorable, relentless. Life, too, is beyond our control. We can destroy life. We cannot create new life where none existed before.

Life expands and evolves to fit every niche and opportunity, given enough time and progeny. The more diverse the niches available (like a tropical rainforest), the richer and more varied the life that occupies them.

We the People

A century ago, lumbering, followed by wild fire, completed denuded this forest. Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania
A century ago, lumbering, followed by wild fire, completed denuded this forest. Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania

What stands between our heritage and the inability of man to control his greed is law.

Europeans came to this country over 400 years ago, and were blessed by what they believed to be limitless resources. The land seemed fertile beyond reason or imagination, and wildlife could be harvested without concern for its diminishment. Or, so they thought.

Good interpreters copy, great interpreters steal

thiefcartoonI stole this quote.

Actually, I stole the form, and then modified it to fit my specific need. Pablo Picasso is most often credited with the form (good artists copy, great artists steal), but I can find references from T.S. Elliott (the immature poet imitates; the mature poet plagiarizes), Igor Stravinsky (lesser artists borrow; great artists steal), and William Faulkner (immature artists copy, great artists steal). I suspect that they all stole the form from someone else.

Simplicity and Repose


Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things  – Isaac Newton

Interpretation gravitates to the complex. Maybe all human systems have a natural inclination toward convolution, like stormwater sprinting downstream. Bureaucracies certainly hint at this drift. There is refuge to be found in the minutia of complexity.

The principles of interpretation aren’t complex. The rules are limited; the doctrine is easy to grasp. The role of the interpreter is to simplify the complex, not to complicate the simple.