The Seeker

Returning to Sugarloaf Cove this summer from June 1 – October 31

A site-specific, self-led audio story walk that unfolds along one of our nature trails. The 45-minute audio piece requires listeners to walk slowly on an easy one-mile hiking trail while listening.

See an overview of this project as featured on The Lift!

Download Story Here 

How it works:

Getting support

When our Visitor Center is open, you can check out headphones and a listening device for free. Just find a staff or volunteer who will take you to the kiosk and give you directions to help you get the equipment you need, answer your questions, and send you on your way.

Doing it by yourself

You can experience this project anytime, even when the Visitor Center is closed. You will need your own headphones and listening device, like your phone. We recommend downloading the story so you can listen uninterrupted when you leave the reach of the guest wifi at the Visitor Center. Use the directions in the boxes below for downloading the story if you want to use your own phone.

Downloading The Seeker Audio on Android your phone:

Downloading The Seeker Audio on your iPhone:

Map of The Seeker

Each number on the map indicates where you are encouraged to stop and listen to the song that was written for that stop.

Free Events this summer:

Saturday, July 27th

Free Community Concert, 1-3 pm

Lead artist Diver Van Avery will be on-site to host a live concert featuring musicians Crystal Myslajek and Peter Morrow, who both contributed to “The Seeker” soundtrack. The free, family-friendly concert will feature music from the project as well as other original works from these fabulous musicians.

Sunday, August 18th

Free Creative Writing Workshop “Writing as Listening,” 1-3 pm

Diver Van Avery will discuss their process for writing as an act of opening up, receiving, and connecting to place. Participants will have the chance to find a site that speaks to them and draft an essay, short story, or poem. There will be time to share their works-in-progress if desired. Limited Registration opens soon.

About:

The Seeker is an immersive story about a person overwhelmed by the great grief of our times and their own personal grief over their father’s death. Through listening to the music held in the restoring woods of Sugarloaf Cove and the expansive water of Gitchi Gumi they remember their soul’s origin and live out hundreds of new futures.

Artist Note:

Sugarloaf Cove has been a sacred place for me. When my father died in 2016, I came to this lake where he took me throughout my childhood to grieve. The year after he died, I had a child and brought her here for our first trip together. For this project, I wanted to explore why this place means what it does to me. What has it gifted me? What can I offer back, as thanks, to the ways it has healed me?

As a European American, queer artist, I worked through layers of hesitations about writing about a place that is not my ancestral homeland. A place where my people have caused great damage. European Americans have orchestrated land theft from Indigenous nations throughout this region while buying and selling what exists here to fuel industry that I both resist and rely on. Sugarloaf Cove used to be owned by a paper company. I am a writer that wrote several drafts of this story on whole notebooks of paper. My life is an extension of the history and present day mix of multiple realities that play out on this shore. I came to feel that the fact that I am European American is the reason why I must add my ideas and imagination on the journey towards repair. I set out to write a story that helped me practice being in relationship with this place. I came here as student, moved by what the land, the water, and other people are doing in service of restoration.

What is true for me is that I have felt loved by this place and I love it right back. I wanted to create a modern myth that explored my sense of resonance here beyond my one lifetime and identity. In order to write this story, I came here often and quieted myself. I slowed down. I opened up to listen and receive from this place. The Seeker was written over several visits and a hundred loops on the nature trail, revised through tuning into infinite love. I hope there is resonance for you, too, dear listener, in this humble offering.

Sincerely,
Diver Van Avery

Thank you to the following friends, family, and treasured artists who sang on the final song:

Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Brinkman, Tupelo Frances McGuire Cook-Shuler, Mike Hoyt, Masanari Kawahara, A.P. Looze, Marianne Norris, Miré Regulus, Nina Roberson, Byrd Shuler, Silversmith, Harper Anne Van Avery, Pramila Vasudevan, Erin Walsh, Gradylee Shapiro-Zimmer, Emily Zimmer

Connect:

We invite you to share images and stories on social media and use #sugarloafseeker to connect with others about your experience. 

Artist Bios:

Diver Van Avery is a fiscal year 2023 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.