As we come closer to the Autumn/Winter crossover I'm doing exactly what I've been talking about through WEST»direction and slowing down, which means, I've not been posting or blogging much. Simply put, I've decided to take some of my own medicine and go within. And since we've had another UK lockdown, why not?
I am spending time watching birds, being representative of NORTH»direction. There's rotund Robin who comes to sit on the compost bin when I eat my breakfast, fluffed-up and soft, and yesterday I spied Woodpecker on the fence for a fleeting moment. I wake to the alien sound of Starlings gathering, go to bed hearing Owls start their hunt.
This month we are experiencing dense foggy mornings up on the hill. Looking out our windows it appears like we live in the clouds! The other day I could just make out two Crows perched atop the nearest oak having a little chat, a post I guess is such a regular haunt it doesn't have twig protrusions, the birds have worn it down similar to how we wear out footpaths.
Which reminds me of the lengthy viewing on Sky Arts this weekend hosted by performance artist Marina Abramović in her striking, assertive, shamanic capacity. Her work with participants in focusing on energy of presence and physicality was so apt for these times – to get out of our heads and into mindful, relaxed processing, and seemingly tedious tasks (like counting rice and lentils!) that take us out of our busy heads and get us learning to properly focus again.
I wouldn't just 'complain' to a tree, as Abramović suggested, I would ask the tree permission first!
One session asked volunteers to choose and connect with a tree, which seemed normal to me, although I wouldn't just 'complain' to a tree, as Abramović suggested, I would ask the tree permission first! As I've said before, there's a Beech tree in a local field I stand beneath and connect with.
It astonishes me that we may still sense we are 'mad' speaking to trees, when this year has seen influxes of new visitors seeking to connect with nature. The silence of nature is enough to provide healing, and yet, there are times I love to walk past and listen to local Aspen – the 'Wisha' tree. As it chatters on it makes me smile, and I wonder if it annoys the nearby oaks!
It's a time of re-evaluation: what can I do differently; how would I go about this again?
Today on my walk I stopped beside a copse to look at perfectly formed evergreen, realising this is the same species I like to stand and touch in a nearby public nature space. Having Googled I realise it's Yew, every time I see one I get a connection of timelessness and depth, a sense of history.
But what of all this talk of trees? What about work, my painting? Well, I've not so much felt like sharing it on social media. I've been doing other kinds of 'gathering', if you like – thoughts, works, ideas, energy, focus. Where we went frantic earlier this season collecting whatever nature and the months had for us, I've decided to stop and look closely at what I have already to hand. It's a time of re-evaluation: what can I do differently, how would I go about this again, what did this teach me and what would I like to try, or learn to do, next?
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