Manuscript from a speech presented on September 24, 2018 to the 2018 Pastors Conference of the Florida-Georgia District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The topic of the conference was The Gospel In A Secular Age.
Experiencing a landscape scarred and abandoned by government failure, an artist must come to grips with the impending loss of her subject matter: a collection of majestic freshwater springs exposed only for a short time before being smothered and forgotten beneath waters held back by an aging and purposeless dam.
Audience Choice – Cinema Verde Environmental Arts & Film Festival, 2018
Official Selection – Fort Myers Film Festival, 2018
Lost Springs follows the inimitable artist Margaret Ross Tolbert as she experiences the magic and beauty of a series of freshwater Florida springs forgotten by the state and left to decay behind a nearly fifty-year-old failure of big government spending. Every three or more years, the water behind the Kirkpatrick Dam in north-central Florida is lowered, exposing an environment that is still raw with both tragedy and hope. This lowering of the water known as a ‘drawdown’ allows more than 20 springs to cough back to life for a short few months before the weight of the water comes back and smothers their flow again.
The film explores themes of loss, wonder and experience in nature as Tolbert joins local and regional experts on a boat trip up the long-fabled Ocklawaha River to witness this newly-revealed, transient landscape and to find the lost springs of the Ocklawaha. The film defends the uniqueness of a free-flowing river and its historical, cultural and recreational importance to the state of Florida. It celebrates the wonder of Florida springs through Tolbert’s original paintings of springs seen only during this short period of time every several years and captivates the viewer with a first-ever filmed cave dive by cave-diving experts Mark Long and Tom Morris.
As more is revealed about the springs, Tolbert is forced to deal with the impacts of industry in her own work, where an emotionally-charged and haunting scene leaves audiences with a visceral connection to this place struggling to recover deep in the floodplain forests of Florida.
There are two significant relationships that have come to light during the most recent drawdown of the Rodman Pool on the Ocklawaha River in north central Florida.
A short teaser highlighting the 2015-16 drawdown of the Rodman Pool and hinting at an upcoming environmental documentary and artist profile.
There is a stain on the edge of the forest. There is a line marring the woods. This line, it is a recent memory. A dream, perspiring from the pores of the trees. A dream, clinging to you long after you slip away. You almost have to blur your eyes to see …
A few miles northwest of Downtown St. Augustine is a pond shaped like a tear. Its edges are fringed with cattails overlooked by reaching pine trees and southern red maples bursting with fall color. Small birds flit through scrub brush; ducks glide through the windswept water.