Tag: David McCloskey

Cascadia Maps for Sale

Buy a Cascadia map! Guaranteed to break the ice at parties!

This from Señor Cascadia, David McCloskey:

Metsker MapsAnd another dream come true–proud to announce first wholesale of Cascadia Map to none other than Metsker Maps–downtown– one of my all time favorite map stores and haunts…!
So let folks know–soon Cascadia Maps will be available from one of our region’s true long-time treasures–Metsker Maps of Seattle! Yahoo!
Cascadia Map

Reflections on Why Maps Matter (by David McCloskey)

Reflections on McCaslin’s Commentary on Cascadia Map: “Why Maps Matter

A lovely meditation… offering an interesting and novel personal “reading” of my new bioregional map from a transcendental perspective.

One might ask at the outset: from what perspective is this map created? And thus, how to attend closely to what the map does, in its own terms?

My intent is to show the natural integrity of the bioregion as a whole.  The goal is to help us discover where we truly are here, together, and show how this world works on many levels together.  And thus, to ground people more deeply in the wider life of the place we call home…. Perhaps we need a guide on “How to Read This Map”!

Susan’s “reading” picks up a subliminal sense of the drama inherent in the graphic image, and reveals an unusual sensitivity to some latent mystical overtones inherent in the map encounter.  Surely something unusual is going on with this map that people intuitively feel, often generating an immediate response—“It’s so beautiful”—that does not require prior belief or ideological assent.  Why else would the good folks at Esri—the leading technical GIS-mapping services company—no sentimentality there!—choose the new Cascadia map as their “Map of the Year”?

So—the interpretive question becomes: well, what  is going on with this map?  What qualities does it exude?

Now, what makes Susan’s “reading” interesting is that it proceeds from a standard Western philosophical perspective (e.g. Idealism/Spirituality, etc.) that was deliberately left behind in the map’s intentionality.  And since we learn so little about what the map specifically shows, it is all the more surprising that this “reading across the grain” offers real insight from a POV opposite to the map itself.

For instance, the commentary notes that one of the key qualities of the map is its “layeredness—geological and ecological features resonating together.”  Then a beautiful line: “For me, David’s map has become an energetic form.”  And that is possible only because I strove very hard to discern, depict, evoke the great dynamics at work in the bioregion on many levels.  It comes thru in the map insofar as its already at play in the place itself!

There are many other important insights herein as well:

Fifth paragraph: “When a person connects vitally to the land….the place opens in an ever-widening series of circles…. Someone so connected may indwell in the land and become inhabited by…. & in this infusion come to feel part of the bioregion.”

Sixth Paragraph: “Moving from a map to embeddedness in a bioregion, continent, and plantetary natural addresses….interconnectedness at successive scales….”

Seventh Paragraph: “ …. take an imaginative leap to becoming present to presence… in the terrain.” And another fine line: “A true map creates a phenomenology of perception” (and vice versa). “A rich map like David’s offers new possibilities of being-in-the-world….”

Real insight!  Which perhaps comes out of the tension between the tacit interpretive frameworks invoked in the opening and closing of this commentary—between Platonic Idealism and Heideggerean “being-in-the-world” (i.e. between Traditional essentialism and modern existential-phenomenology) which are typically incommensurable.  Only an unusually attuned poet and adept thinker

seems capable of joining the two seamlessly….

And so the invitation to poets remains: as in the map,


take on the imagination of the land!

David McCloskey


Why Maps Matter (by Susan McCaslin)

A Matter of Mapping, or Why Maps Matter

by Susan McCaslin

(based on David McCloskey’s map of Cascadia, unveiled at the Cascadia Poetry Festival in Nanaimo, British Columbia, April 30-May 3, 2015)

First off, up to now I haven’t been much of a map person. I’m generally intimidated by maps and can’t figure out how to read them, often holding them upside-down and relying on a GPS. I’ll gladly turn to photos, stories, and even poems when preparing for a trip, leaving the mapping and interpretation of maps to my husband. Woe to us if he asks me to navigate. Unlike me, Mark poured over maps as a teen, dreaming, planning in preparation for extended trips into the wilderness. Maps were and remain for him portals to the natural world he loves. They make possible pre-hensive (reaching out to grasp beforehand) experience of the terrain. 

Yet I’m a poet with a contemplative bent. So, challenged by David, I decided to meditate on his map as one would on a painting, mandala, or icon. What if I could gaze on a map as sacred art, enter it as sacred space? I wanted to engage with the map as conduit. What might go on between my body, mind, soul, and the lines, forms, and colours of the map would surely become a liminal place, a threshold. Transport me, o map!

Plato speaks of the Forms: Beauty, Truth, Goodness. I used to think the philosopher’s Forms were abstractions, but realized when going deeper into Parmenides and the Pythagorean roots of Socrates’ dramaturgy, that the Forms are more like living beings (Gk. Zoes, life forms) that connect us to a more holistic reality. Maps can be complex layerings with biological and geological features demarcated but resonating together.  As Robert Bringhurst pointed out during his talk at the Cascadia Poetry Festival, we could add to maps the layering of languages (especially the indigenous languages that preceded western presence on this continent).  For me, David’s map has become an energetic form, a living blueprint or field evoking the complexity and beauty of our bioregion.

At the conference, B.C. poet Harold Rhenisch presented a compelling account of his zig-zag journey back and forth across the border between Canada and Washington State to explore the Columbia Gorge. For him, the political border between the Canada and the US, an artificial construct, became inconsequential, as it had been to the aboriginal peoples who had roamed freely in this bioregion stretching from northern California to southern Alaska. Harold discovered himself as “trans-national” through his connection to the particularities of place within a wider ecology. He related how the border guards were suspicious of a guy wandering back and forth across a well-monitored post-911 border. Was he a drug dealer, a potential terrorist?  No, just a seeker, an explorer, a lover of rivers, petroglyphs, waterfalls that claimed him. A poet.

My map meditations proceeded. When a person connects vitally to the land through the portal of a map, that that place may open to an ever-widening set of interrelated circles. Someone so connected may come to indwell the land and be inhabited by particular birds, animals, sounds, winds, weathers. Someone so infused, starts to feel part and parcel of the bioregion. We are all essentially connected to the earth, but most of us don’t live that intimacy very deeply. At this time, it has become more and more apparent that we are plundering and destroying the very ecosystems that support us.

By moving from map to a feeling of embeddedness in a bioregion, we may access the interconnected circles of the local, continental, global and planetary ecosystems. “Systems” is perhaps too mechanistic a word for the process of waking up inside Gaia, sentient earth-consciousness. Someone who experiences a particular ecosystem in this way, might just momentarily feel all the eyes of the spheres looking through her body, her eyes. This is what the ancients called the realm of the cosmological as it ties to the particular. So maps have the potential to move us from microcosm to macrocosm and back. A dance. We too are mapa mundis, smaller maps of the world.

By gazing at a well-wrought map we have the opportunity to take an imaginative leap from looking as from outside (apparent objectivity) to being present in the terrain. A true map creates a phenomenology of perception. A rich map like David’s offers new possibilities of being-in-the world, breathing what you first only conceptualized and considered separate. Being present in this way helps us progress from bioregional, to planetary, to cosmic consciousness. Sounds abstract but it’s not. 

Maps can be reminders that we are meant to be at home where we are. Like a good poem, a good map like David’s participates in the reality to which it points. 

Berryessa-Snow Mountain National Monument

From David McCloskey:

Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument MapHello Folks,

Pres. Obama just declared the “Berryessa-Snow Mountain National Monument“!
The official declaration provides a nice summary of some of the area’s unique
and significant geological and ecological qualities.
Cascadians, Californians, & Bioreregionalists should shout out the news from the highest rooftops!
If you look on the new Master Map of Cascadia, you will see that Snow Mountain
is entered as the farthest southwestern point of Cascadia in its “foot” in the Klamath-North Coast Range of N. California. The dividing line between the Central Valley and Coastal Mountains, Snow Mtn stands at the headwaters of the Eel River which gathers waters from this entire area, and drains into the Pacific just north of Cape Mendocino and just south of Eureka….
The shattering of the North Coast Range by the San Andreas Fault and our micro-plates differentiates the north-trending rivers like the Eel from south-trending rivers like the Russian. Further, the name “Snow Mountain” suggests its uniqueness going south climatically, where, in normal times, the last feathered edge of the N Pacific storm-track hits the twin peaks…. For the southern boundary of Cascadia can be found where high elevation snow lasts into early summer, where closed-canopy forests end, where sheltered snowmelt & springs feed river flow, feeding salmon habitat, etc.
So, in many ways, Snow Mtn stands forth as an important landmark bioregionally.
(We need not follow the geographic extent southward to Lake Berryessa, but it does highlight Snow Mountain….)
From a bioregional perspective, Snow Mtn, like the Shasta “gate” and the twin
horns of Cape Mendocino, are shared sacred sites between Cascadia and California….If we become deeply grounded in the life of the larger place, then we
may learn the shared guardianship of such “bridges, gates,” etc.
I write this note to inform you of this significant event b/c of its intrinsic/historic interest
and your network capacity to alert others to its significance!
Bioregionally yours,
David McCloskey