How did I get from Hotel Central: Paris to beaver ponds in La Cieneguilla? Easy. Beaver, the vilified rodent is an unwelcome outsider along the Santa Fe River near my house. Henry Miller, who is the subject of much of the Hotel Central project, was also an outsider and his book, Tropic of Cancer, was banned for 30 years in the US. I like outsiders. I like rivers. I like beaver.
I’m starting a project that focuses on the river- the Santa Fe River. Tropic of Cancer ends with Miller pondering and reckoning the meaning of life as he muses on the Seine. ” I feel this river flowing through”. That’s the problem with beaver, according to some of my neighbors along the river. Beaver dams are obstructing the flow downstream and the ranchers and farmers ability to irrigate crops. I love the wild ponds, the blackbirds that perch on the cattails. I’m an artist, not a farmer. But I like to eat and support local and all of that. At a county meeting I heard several farmers from the village of La Bajada, about 10 miles downstream from my house, use the word nuisance to describe the beaver, and the word extricate as a solution. I’m seeing and hearing the word extricate a lot these days. It is the cure proposed for the Zita virus- eradicate mosquitos. Eradicate terrorism. Eradicate the beaver. Wait a second. I don’t think we can eradicate anything- they’ll go underground, go viral, get stronger and louder. No. We need to come up with a better solution.