rain moistens the soil (4/72)

(working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)

Japanese season called ‘Usui’ / rainwater, 19th February –5th March
Micro climate ‘rain moistens the soil’. 19th February – 23rd February.

I was intrigued to find out (from reading other artist’s posts involved in this initiative) that there are quite a few variations on the name/translations of these Japanese micro-climate seasons. I found that the 72 seasons app did not function on my old tablet so did a bit of research of my own and I found this on, quite an industrially based, Japanese business site!
I love seeing the actual characters and phonetic pronunciation!
I also checked out the latitudes of Japan next to our position here in Scotland. We are further north than the majority of Japan (Japan stretches from 30° North to 55° North and the UK from 50° North to 60° North) so we do overlap, but only just! This explains why the seasons seem a bit out to me….and almost make me want to make my own based on our location! I think I might change some of them a little, but this fits so well with our present weather that this is the title I choose this time!

I will carry on using these titles now I think, and use this calendar as a ‘vehicle’ to carry all my observations and Gaia related creations for this next year!

It has been raining so heavily here, on the West Coast of Scotland, and strangely warm. The southerly winds continue to blow.
My few years, now, of burrowing into my inner worlds have made me a bit wary of these Scottish grey, damp days.
I have been spending too much time hibernating in our house, waiting for the sun to come out, but if I am to achieve my dreams for 2019 it is time, again, to get into it.
I have alot of work to do outside now and I need to toughen up again to the realities of living outside here.

Before I lost my yurt in the fire I was researching potential flooring and came across this beautiful photo of an authentic Sami lavuu….

I thought it would be lovely to experiment with this type of natural matting! Now that my yurt has been lost to fire and I have ordered a new Nordic tipi/lavuu it makes even more sense! My mother’s Finnish family was originally from northern Karelia so somehow it feels as if my ancestors are calling me.
I was horrified, recently, to see a huge amount of birch thicket cut down at the end of our track, simply to improve the sightlines for the lorries and industrial traffic that use our track, so there is heaps and heaps of this very material just lying there, unclaimed.
So in attempt to alchemise this local tragedy into something good I determined to collect some for my floor.

So I went out in the rain.

It did not feel as bad as it looked through the window. I endeavoured to enjoy its softness on my skin and embrace it. I recalled carrying wood in the Himalaya, (where I spent many years in my 20’s), being taught how to balance big loads by my Kinnauri ‘didi’ and thought it might be fun to do the same here! Not using the car and getting some much needed exercise!!
It was not as easy as I remembered. I was on all fours like a big, birch, turtle, in full view of the public main road, for some time as I summoned the ‘push’ needed to get up! It must have looked hilarious to any passing traffic! It was only about 500 metres or so back to the house, but, even so this heavy bundle had to be dumped down and retied halfway…I even refused a lift from a passing van!
It is remarkable how much one can carry. When the balance was right I could actually run easily! But I learned/remembered alot about balancing, and the tying, of these type of loads, on that short journey. Quite a wonderful life lesson in this when I think about it.
Eventually I made it. Soaked and happily exhausted.
I intend to do more of this kind of collecting, off track, in the local copses and woodland, to collect wood for my new ‘SamiScot’ hearth. Beats the gym hands down!

Another rainwater connected activity I got up to was learning how to stratify the Monterey Cypress seeds I collected during the ‘7 Days Rest’ sharing.
Apparently in order to germinate successfully it is necessary to soak them for 24 hours first and then put them in the fridge for 4-6 weeks. I am looking forward to having quite a few seedlings of this unusual, to here, tree in the summer.

Monterey cypress seeds collected from house-heat opened ‘cone’ and soaked for 24 hours.

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