As part of the 7 Days of Rest and Reflection
It was all planned.
Each day between the 1st and the 7th of January I hoped to find time to meditate and become curious about each element/topic, producing a piece of related work each day.
Dawn feels so late.
Very aware of post celebration debris and waste.
Walk was made difficult due to having to face the destruction and mindless roadwork that has been done to our track. They have widened the road as they intend on bringing truck-loads of commercial timber out this spring.
We knew this was coming. The forest was in desperate need of some management.
But it is the way they do things that fills me with grief this morning.
Machines have scarred the road with mud and tracks. Just smashed a way through, no care has been taken, and then they have dumped ugly piles of rock on the road to prevent locals using the back tracks.
Stood in silent communion with some of the remaining trees.
I felt their shock.
This is superficial I remind myself.
Mud is Earth.
It will re-green in time.
They have left alone, and in one case, happily exposed, some specimen trees. One of these trees, I have frequently intended to identify. I know it was planted by a woman who owned this woodland years ago.
Turned out to be a Macnab Cypress! (UPDATE: I found out the following day it is actually a Monterey Cypress, details on following post!) Known to the American Indians as the ‘juniper tree’! Glad to see it was saved from the saws.
All I could really feel and see, as I walked mindfully, was mismanagement of the land and a total lack of love. I felt trapped in this damaged landscape. Part of it. Guilty by participation.
My eyes then became drawn to the beautiful details of life in the mosses and lichens. The untouched hills and land beyond these ravaged edges. The Winter of everything. The subtle hues of brown and ochre greys. I tried to look beyond all the blatant destruction.
I returned home and tidied up. Let the fresh. fresh air through the house. Put out food for our hungry (and now distressed) birds. Mainly Blue, Great and Coal tits at this time of year. On my walk they had been humming out unusual distress warnings as we approached.
The whole area is alarmed.
Machines rumbled in the distance, accompanied by the shouts of men.
I watered my house plants, wondering at Hyacinth and Orchids beauty and scent. I walked on our cold winter lawn and greeted the sun as it spilled over the horizon, bathing the glen and me with golden light.
And then I retreated to my art’cave’.
A feeling of ‘earthing’, ‘grounding’.
First thoughts were of previous works that seem to embody this theme.
All my work might fit this brief, but this painting, titled ‘Substance’, painted last year, is the one that came to mind immediately.
I had had pretty solid plans to draw 4 yin yang designs, each based on an element showing the male and female, creator/destroyer, sides of each element, but the mood of my mornings walk had affected me deeply. I also have been playing with images of carbon molecules and Earth grids. But I found that I wanted to be more immediate than that. Just open and see what came through.
I created a sacred space and listened to the Earth guided meditation, by Shelley Ostroff, on the 7 days of Rest, Day One, page.
Perfect. Exactly in tune with my new resolution! Supporting this experiment in an almost uncanny way!
As the plans faded and openness to the moment took over I found myself reaching for one of my many treasured collected stones from the windowsill. It was a beauty. Full of layers and patterns of rock. I could see many images floating through it. Stories from the stone?
On one side I could see a landscape lit by the full moon….
On the other beautiful tides from the air and sometimes a maiden with wild tidal hair…
And as I held it it grew warm. Such poetry in that alone.
And as it warmed the thought occurred that I must go back to the ravaged ditches to find another stone and ask for it’s story!
So I ventured outside again and I soon was called to a glint of quartz in one of the muddy ditches. It was bigger than my usual finds and covered with a thick mud.
I carried it home to wash it.
The mud smelled fresh and earthy and was thick, sticky and dark.
I became interested in the contours of my skin and thought there might be something interesting to explore in that…like body maps…drawn in soil….as you can see I got a bit carried away!
And my skin felt great afterwards!
I gently and tenderly scrubbed the rock clean. I began to see so many possible stories and characters within its layered crystalline facets. It definitely was speaking to me!
I processed this picture into a black and white image and sat with it for a long time debating what to draw out, turning it around and around….
I laid it in front of me and contemplated all things Earth…
One of my ideas was to draw ‘live’ and fill a page with stories, I wish I had now…but working against the clock now I chose one story….and here she is.
Earth Gaiantess Rising.
Just one of many stories a quartz stone rescued from a fresh Earth wound told me this afternoon. If I had had more time I might have written her story too…but I am tired now….from ‘dancing’ with this heavy mineral element.
Trying not to plan tomorrows dance with Water Element…just opening and letting it flow….
Deep bow to the element of Earth.