The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

high and wild

with 2 comments

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Sad and scared today, the Newtown Creek tours were yesterday, and your humble narrator spoke to 2 sold out boatloads of eager enthusiasts. This isn’t the first time I’ve spoken before a group, but anxiety and nervous energy ruled an otherwise beautiful autumn day, and I am exhausted. Accordingly, here are 3 pretty pictures to cheer up the mood, captured recently in the brilliant light of autumn in the borough of Queens. A single moment from the real world in 2011, found on Northern Blvd. is above.

from wikipedia

As opposed to nostalgia – the melancholia or homesickness experienced by individuals when separated from a loved home – “solastalgia” is the distress that is produced by environmental change impacting on people while they are directly connected to their home environment. A paper published by Albrecht and collaborators focused on two contexts where collaborative research teams found solastalgia to be evident: the experiences of persistent drought in rural New South Wales (NSW) and the impact of large-scale open-cut coal mining on individuals in the Upper Hunter Valley of NSW. In both cases, people exposed to environmental change experienced negative effects exacerbated by a sense of powerlessness or lack of control over the unfolding change process.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

When I’m walking around, looking for moments of time to freeze and or document, the movements of my eyes seem mechanical. Up, down, all around- notice everything. The things I seldom photograph, as I find it rude, are the little domestic scenes which make life in this ancient community of Western Queens and North Brooklyn worth living in. The old guys posturing with a bottle of bear, some old lady shucking beans, yuppies arguing with their dogs. My “thing”, however, is found in lost thoroughfares, graveyards, and wherever the night winds are answered with defiance and howls.

from wikipedia

Hypervigilance is an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect threats. Hypervigilance is also accompanied by a state of increased anxiety which can cause exhaustion. Other symptoms include: abnormally increased arousal, a high responsiveness to stimuli, and a constant scanning of the environment for threats. Hypervigilance can be a symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder and various types of anxiety disorder. It is distinguished from paranoia. Paranoid states, such as those in schizophrenia, can seem superficially similar, but are characteristically different.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

In the last week, the two walking tours of Dutch Kills for Open House NY, a private boat tour of Newtown Creek for an elect group of education professionals, and the two public tours on Sunday the 23rd have been accomplished. The massive preparation and study associated with speaking on these tours has flattened my psyche, and left my frail and ruined physique a shattered mess. Enjoy today’s photos, and I’ll be back tomorrow with another missive from deep within the Newtown Pentacle. Oh… almost forgot to say it… I’m all ‘effed up.

from wikipedia

The onset of a stress response is associated with specific physiological actions in the sympathetic nervous system, both directly and indirectly through the release of epinephrine and to a lesser extent norepinephrine from the medulla of the adrenal glands. These catecholamine hormones facilitate immediate physical reactions by triggering increases in heart rate and breathing, constricting blood vessels. An abundance of catecholamines at neuroreceptor sites facilitates reliance on spontaneous or intuitive behaviors often related to combat or escape.

Normally, when a person is in a serene, unstimulated state, the “firing” of neurons in the locus ceruleus is minimal. A novel stimulus, once perceived, is relayed from the sensory cortex of the brain through the thalamus to the brain stem. That route of signaling increases the rate of noradrenergic activity in the locus ceruleus, and the person becomes alert and attentive to the environment.

If a stimulus is perceived as a threat, a more intense and prolonged discharge of the locus ceruleus activates the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system (Thase & Howland, 1995). The activation of the sympathetic nervous system leads to the release of norepinephrine from nerve endings acting on the heart, blood vessels, respiratory centers, and other sites. The ensuing physiological changes constitute a major part of the acute stress response. The other major player in the acute stress response is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.


Written by Mitch Waxman

October 24, 2011 at 11:09 am

2 Responses

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  1. “a bottle of bear”? Hey, I’d pay to see that! Not only are you all effed-up, you’re sleep deprived. Go cut some wood: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


    October 24, 2011 at 4:07 pm

  2. but but…you’re such a natural! YOU wrote the book! go enjoy a pint of bear, pale or grizzy! wish I could be there! xoxo


    October 24, 2011 at 10:36 pm

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