Thinking alot about Growth recently.
Reading about ideas of Degrowth.
Knowing that it is less, not more, that I need now,
But not wanting to ‘send us back to the dark ages’.
I stare out of the window.
The great Oak grows up fast in the beginning.
Then pauses to thicken.
Often it looses a lower limb or two as it stretches toward the sky.
Shedding what no longer serves.
It grows slower and wider as it ages.
Putting on rings of girth.
Not only on it’s trunk, but also on it’s branches and it’s roots.
Growing in all directions!
Building strength to ensure it’s longevity.
In years of scarcity it grows less.
In years of plenty it takes all it needs.
In it’s maturity it becomes host to other, new, Life.
Ferns and fungi, lichen and mosses.
Societal progress might do well to learn from this great tree.
Societal ‘growth’ has more in common with the growth I see in the commercial, forestry, plantations.
The fast growing, conifer, trees, all planted too close together.
They rush toward the light.
Growing thin, straight and brittle.
The ground below becoming deadened.
Little thrives there, in the acid dark, to knit it all together.
And then, when the first big wind comes along,
They uproot or snap.
Collide into one another, falling like dominos.
Each taking it’s neighbour down as it falls.
Becoming worthless as a crop.
Impossible to even harvest.
No longer possible to make sense of as ‘forest’.
So Oak teaches it is not about stopping growing.
Not about degrowing.
(Although, perhaps, we could lose a useless limb or two, that no longer serve)
It is about growth in the right places, at the right time.
Allow for more Light.
Create more Space.
With Care and Foresight,
Prune away the dead, or diseased, wood as necessary.
Like all good gardeners, cultivate more Patience.
More Awareness of Resources available.
More Awareness of what grows Beneath.
This is what makes for more Resilience.
These are lessons well worth remembering now.
Not new wisdom. As ancient as the hills.
Thank You Oak for reminding me.
Kat Robertson. May 2021.
This is my world.
My whole horizon.
It is Beautiful.
And it is all that I need.
I am its only Guardian.
And this tiny world needs me.
I Care for it.
I have some agency here.
And only here.
Any illusion of becoming real in a virtual world is now dissolving like a bad dream.
A nightmare of 4 years.
I have found a place.
Out of the wind and rain.
In the shelter of rock and tree roots.
On a bed of dry leaves and under canopy.
The moss drips at the entrance to this shelter.
Only here do I feel safe.
Watching the whirling world.
While embedded in this spot.
More in common with this tree, this soil and this rock,
than with all those glittering projections.
Melt into the landscape.
Blend in, become invisible.
Just another tiny particle.
If that makes me inhuman,
Then humanity itself now alienates me.
I perceive, as alien, this planet from Deep Space,
With alien senses, hear the ‘hum’ of Earth,
And whispered stories
Of stars and distant universes and of our, as yet unexplored, potential.
I feel Earth’s cold and lonely passage,
I see how very precious She is.
Now I must take such care about which culture I take root in.
I choose a culture that is not ‘on screen’ and more akin to fungal networks.
The Machine now builds a ‘cage’ around the Earth and I find have become mistrusting even of our Father Sky.
Even the Air I breathe, the space around me, now polluted with our, focused, radiation.
This Fire in our oxygen is dry. So very dry. I become wizened.
If I am to be caged, then I choose this place.
For I find myself in good company among the lichens and branches.
Better to tune to their frequency and breathe their fresher, moister, air.
If this is an illness then please feel free to diagnose me.
But I will not be taking any medications, for they are only added layers of complexity and over-looked side effects.
If ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ why do we keep inventing layers we do not need?
Using more fuel to fuel our already fuel-driven lives.
Crudely drenched in the stuff.
Sometimes I see the whole world on Fire.
Sometimes I need to swim, to wash those charred layers off, to re-hydrate.
Where I go swimming I imagine rainbows are left swirling on the surface behind me.
It only takes a drop.
I do not need much.
I have found a place.
Out of the wind.
In the shelter of rock and tree roots.
Dry leaves and under canopy.
From here I can watch the whirling world.
And ride out this wild weather.
Kat Robertson February 2021
I made this gif (below) of my tiny world’s horizons, in an accelerated spin, after doing some research into NFTs. (Non-Fungible tokens).
This would make quite a good one.
I was almost persuaded by the hype, for I have much unmarketable, digital artwork, shared here, on this blog.
But, on looking into it all more deeply, when tapped, it all just has that same, hollow, ring.
I will surely become poorer for little reward and I do not like to gamble.
I work and someone else becomes richer. Same old, same old.
Painted as an ‘evolution’ I see it as another desperate grab in a dying world. Another chunk torn out of reality.
I find I am a bit charmed by the idea of it though.
All artists live in a kind of unsolvable riddle, a koan of existence.
The virtual nature of this proposition is attractive, but if I find real relief in stepping away from the screen what would possess me now to put my real money, and learning time, into a virtual, screen-based, economy!!??
It simply makes no common sense.
My digital artwork remains for sale, in high resolution, through my mandala shop, for £3.50 or so. Why would any fool be persuaded it was worth £1000’s, even if it did prove virtually marketable??
I am also, now, thanks to this ‘advance’, even more fearful of art thieves.
Today yet another marketing entrepreneur has chosen to follow this blog. I may have mentioned this before, but most of my ‘followers’ are media types (and psychiatrists!) who never comment and rarely like. No like minded community being built here. Not all, but so many ‘licking to be licked’, standing on other’s shoulders to see better, with no regard for their well being.
I saw one of these new nfts ridiculing ladies of my age/demographic, depicted riding a social media ‘rocket’, waving her lipstick and handbag.
This seems to be the general tone.
“Let’s dis the Gen X mothers, just as we make ourselves all disposable”.
As may be obvious from this post I am struggling now. I am not OK.
I was worried that I had no Love left in me, until I remembered that Grief is an expression of Love and now I find that Gratitude, for what remains and Grief, for all that is lost, are, prehaps, the only appropriate expressions. I cannot stop being an artist, but if any future, alternative, occupations become necessary I have been considering training as a death doula …… at least I would be useful……
A creative attempt to summarize/record my, month-long, participation in this remarkable project.
My original, published, ‘cool’ captions and inspiring ‘Earth quotes’ became lost to the ether when I chose to delete my Facebook account…..which is just as well….as with hindsight it seems I was not really listening…..some of my posts where only text and gone forever now ….but this is all the visual work I shared with the group….cobbled together, chronologically, and with new meaning.
It all began with Nuts.
Those prefectly designed, well travelled, nuggets of both nutrition and potential.
(Reminded now, also. in hindsight, of an Egyptian Nut.
Daughter of vital breath and heat, a star-covered naked woman, bowed over the Earth,
With her head in the West and her feet in the East. A bridge between the Earth and the Sky.)
I wondered how this ‘tree’ would grow from there…..
The endangered red squirrel became my constant companion on this journey.
And, as always here, the Wind.
Winter Hawthorn showed me her sharp, protective, thorns…..
The Beech hedge whispered ‘Sssssh…..ssssh’……
Mole spoke to me of staying buzy, but remaining underground, unseen…..
Mosses demonstrated how to cling on and thrive, on only cold, ungiving, stone……
But I was not really listening …….
And worms writhed in the compost heap of my mind, giving birth to strange new, artifical, creatures….
I have a well-weathered head.
Colonized now by Nature.
Worn away by Time.
Still able, though, to see those ‘Spots of Light’ and bask in their Radiance.
Celebrate their Beauty.
That is, until I see when I venture out, again and again, our trashing of everything Sacred …
And I am returned to Grieving.
Yet, I was reminded, in that Darkness, there is always Light.
You only have to find new ways of Seeing.
It is Imbolc.
A time of Rebirth. Of Future. A Time of New Beginnings and Returning Light.
Humble Snowdrops blaze a fanfare.
Spring is on its way.
The soil gives way to green, urgent, spears of New Life, pushing up toward the Sun.
Even, inside our winter home, the houseplants put on a show of wondrous, exotic, blooms.
Out walking I was shown something weird, almost alien, something that I had never encountered before.
Earth spoke to me again of all the unseen wonders that she holds.
That Living can only ever be learning.
I cracked open my first rotten egg in a long, long time.
The smell was of Sulphur.
I learned that Humans create more Sulphur now than is released by all the Earth’s volcanos put together.
So Humans smell, to the Earth, of Sulphur too.
A smell associated with Decay.
And the breaking open of her Crust.
Then we were invited to dig deep and find our authentic Howl.
Always a tough one.
It turned out my Howl is, and has always been, my felt Impotence in affecting any real Change
Through what I am able to do, through my own unique gifts.
Earth told me it was OK to share, again, some work I have already done.
For it is Work that has not lost Value through Age.
Just as I have not lost Value.
Work created when I first began to Give the Earth a Voice online.
(Though, at that time, I thought I was Alone in doing so.)
Sharing this Work, reminded me that I have been Standing here a long, long Time already.
And brought home how committed I am to doing it still.
Rarely witnessed and, in the main, uncelebrated.
As undeserving of applause as a weed in a lawn.
A rock, the moss or a twisted tree.
A sea squirt.
Or a hooded crow.
This is not a show.
A creature of magik and alchemy.
Who no longer needs to shout out “I am here!”
Because, in the course of this experiment, the only One who really matters told me that:
She Loves me,
that She is Sorry,
that She Forgives me
and is Grateful for all that I do.
And when I heard that back….
I just Let Go.
I AM HOME
and that is where you’ll always find me.
Kat Robertson. Standing As Earth. Imbolc 2021
I am staring at this screen.
How to condense the Experience?
The above barely scratches the surface.
Now only recorded in pages and pages and pages and pages and pages
of messy, scrawled notes, avid, crazed, chanelled, journalling …processing …..too much to edit.
And this trail of shared artworks.
I have deleted my Facebook account.
Deleted all social media accounts.
I am too much to edit.
It was Earth that called me to withdraw from all that fight to be seen.
The fight to feel heard.
While I celebrate all who are able to continue this work of being visible online.
Who have those skills.
I have become exhausted from trying to find new ways to say such a simple thing.
There simply are no words left in my limited vocabulary.
I can tell you how I felt when I first saw the online invitation.
YES! YES! What a brilliantly simple idea!
Let’s ALL Stand AS Earth.
Earth, my true Nature, guides me now to simply write of the WEATHER during this month long experiment #standingasearth on Facebook.
The Weather of Standing As Earth
It began with a, freezing, Siberian Wind that howled from the East.
Screaming over vast, populated, landmasses,
Carrying all that stale air,
To meet the ocean
All the way from China, it came hurtling through, at tree-breaking ,wave-hurling, speed,
Onward over the Atlantic, toward the East Coast of the Americas.
It was hard, sometimes, to Breathe.
The Land became hard too, as iron.
It’s Life Blood frozen.
Impermanent diamonds grew in the Mud.
And the Trees grew hair of Ice.
Until the very Dryness turned it all to Dust.
Dust that came Alive, like dervishes, like dancers,
Rising, with the gusting wind, up from the Ground.
Gritty in my eyes.
Making me Cry.
And then it Snowed.
And all became Still and Silent.
And all became Clear and Sharply defined.
Blueish and Breathtaking.
The Light alone, a sensory orgasm.
And then, it all, inevitably,
The winds have never stopped blowing.
They are blowing still.
They have just swung around a bit and radically changed direction.
I found I had been blown off course.
I found myself, full circle, called back into the Mystery.
I found I was, already, HOME.
Kat Robertson. Standing As Earth. Imbolc 2021
My last post on Facebook, after realising I felt I had shared way too much, and deleting my account, was this.
It hangs on the wall of my ‘artden’.
And, while not my own words, says all I really have left to say of any worth.
My continued prayer is only that more of us will find this Truth and try their very best to LIVE BY IT.
And each find their own ,unique, Balance.
(N.B. I have only just realised that when a person deletes their Facebook account, they disappear, also, from all groups. As if they had never been there at all. I experience a deep sadness about that, as I fell in Love, with new brothers and sisters, and Earth, over and over again, during this month of participation …….. despite not joining in on Zoom! Now guided just to rest in the Knowing that we are, all connected, through the Forest floor. )
I was contacted by my dear Treesister, Victoria Rose DeAngelis (who I have made mandalas for before), with an interesting idea!
She sent me a ‘free’, computer generated, image of the COVID-19 particle and asked if I could turn all the ‘red bits’ into hearts around the Earth.
She wanted to begin spreading an Earth Love Virus on TikTok!!!
I said I’d see what I could do and this was the result.
I am a particular, (pardon the pun), fan of her W.E.I.R.D. (Wonderful, Exciting,Imaginative, Radiant, Delightful ) fun approach to Living Life to the full and Spreading the Love, worldwide, from her home in Conneticut, USA.
Though primarily aimed at younger children, I believe she shines so bright that all those, who are young at heart, can feel her infectious, remarkable, energy!
I certainly ‘get it’!
You can read more about Victoria and all facets of her work here on her website ‘Spirit Tree Wellness’.
And I could not resist making this wee gif of it too….pulsing, pushing, the Love around our dear planet Earth….
SHARE LOVE NOT FEAR!
(UPDATE: April 2021. Discovered this month that BBC Future are running a fairly well ‘hidden’ series called WEIRD WEST. In their programming W.E.I.R.D. stands for Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, Democracies. Not sure what my friend might make of this, but have to say that I find this reframing, questioning, of ‘our’ so called ‘first world, extractive, exploitative, systems very refreshing!)
I attempted to film the brilliant, full spectrum, sparkle that Sirius, the Dog Star, was eminating these last evenings.
Unfortunately the camera was hand held giving the impression that it was moving about…..but I quite like this effect!
A USO. An Unidentified Sparkly Object.
I made this wee gif from the footage.
Made from one of many attempts to photograph this vision….only the sound of the water lapping.
What a year eh!?
Welcoming in the Light for 2021…..
My favorite seasonal celebration.
But this year my two sons were not interested and social media conveyed that guising in the village was going to be pretty low key, due to COVID.
The weather was stormy, so I did not drive into town to get a large swede.
(I refuse to buy pumpkins anymore. So sick of ‘America’s treat or treat’.)
So no carving or soup either.
Really missed the gorgeous smell of candle-roasting ‘tumchie’ lantern.
Stayed up late with candles, watching to see if the blue moon would show it’s face. It did not.
And ‘talked with the dead’, but it was not like other years at all.
Missing all the ususal costume dramas, I decided it was time to work with the old faux-fur coat I had had stored in my studio for, at least, the last 3 years.
An old coat that I have always just known was to become ‘Bear’ in my, incrementaly evolving, ‘dream’, puppet show.
It was the coat that inspired the character.
It felt good to work with Bear. So familiar to me. Bear medicine.
Hibernation now never far from my mind.
Quite a journey in patience and understanding too!
I would begin folding and stitching, then see, over and over, that, to make it better, I had to unpick it all.
It felt ‘complete’ a total of 3 times, but then it would stare at me and show me better ways to approach it.
Which always meant taking it apart and starting again.
I like the way this has roughened this faux-fur coat.
It’s evolution took a couple of weeks.
It was not just the way it looked that was important, but also the way it worked, as a prop.
It was frustrating me that what was to have been a quick, fun, project began to eat into days.
It simply was not working as I had imagined.
It was very difficult, and clumsy, to wear.
Then, on November 2nd, I woke from a dream about how to approach it from a completely different angle.
Making the arms the snout, not using the neck, and I unpicked it all for the last time.
Everything fell into place.
Complete with naturally forming eye-holes, in the right place, so I could wear it and actually see where I was going!!
Which had been a real problem until that point!
Now it is a joy to make the simple folds and have/be ‘Bear’, then undo them and have ‘coat’.
Definitley going to be part of my show……think more items will be tied onto it over Time….
Mama Bear prowls in the kitchen…..
In the show it will only be the head that shows (in quite a few different ways), but it works as a fun costume too.
Amazing to wear when meditating! A Bear Woman!
Old cat not bothered.
Below is a wee gif I made for the fun of it all….
51 years old.
Think this might be a mid-Life crisis, or even the effects of lockdown weariness….but I highly recommend it.
(Looking at all the above, I think it needs some whittled, willow, teeth….and perhaps I will paint the eye ‘buttons’…..I would like for this ‘teddy bear’ to become a bit more fierce!)
The prompt for the local art challenge was ‘Inside Out/Outisde In’ and as I have been ‘carrying’ this idea, for quite a while now, I thought I’d give it a go.
Inspired by a small birch I planted, years ago now, that has been shining, opposite me, where I often meditate, outside in the garden.
A part of my practice involves breathing as ‘Tree’.
This little tree and I often cross ‘boundaries of being’.
My ‘edges’ drawn in Air, defined only by the tree’s branches.
I felt it kind of fitted the breif! (Although most of the other entries were the view out of a window!)
I sat down and painted this, in ink, freehand, but felt it was not complete. The shape was wrong, my attempts to make the outer twigs lie like hair made her too conifer-like and it is spring!
She needed leaves!
So I worked with a photograph of this birch.
In photoshop I selected only the leaves and then super-imposed that image on top of the drawing, to test what it could look like, before I committed to painting them on.
Well that works!
After deciding to go for it and paint the leaves on, I had another play with the completed painting and super-imposed that onto a sky image from another of my photos.
This seemed to stress the Air body better…..
Still not totally happy with it if I am honest.
This is a work I will probably try and create again though.
Re-work it with finer branches, more interesting anatomy and a less chunky trunk.
I love this idea and can see where it could go.
The title’s pun was intended.
Not ‘Bohdi Tree‘, but ‘Body Tree’.
I am not Buddha!
Or we all are……
It was only later, after painting this that I found out it was Buddha’s birthday a few days later.
I also was reminded of how he died.
Did I mention I have been thinking about death, a lot, recently?
(Note to self: Do not eat the meaty, mushroomy, pig dishes my, ‘blacksmith’/engineer, husband prepares, full of salt and a smoker’s over seasoning!) (wink)
The Time spent with this little tree and painting came into our, monthy, Treeisister’s Full Moon meditation too:
“Response to Treesister’s May Full Flower Moon Call: Healing the Amazon.
Got a bit lost in ‘doings’ and missed the live call, but joined on replay the following day.
I was ready to pray.
Outside was that super-still way, wet with the first summer rain in a long time. Droplets of mist hung on everything around. Bird song thrilled through this ‘heavy’ stillness. Today I love the rain. We really needed it here after a few dry weeks.
Very quickly, as the meditation began, I became Tree.
I became a little birch I know very well, that grows opposite me where I regularly sit to meditate, outside in the garden. I planted it years ago. It shines so bright now with all its new leaves. I have been photographing it, and even used it as the inspiration for a recent picture of the ‘tree’ ‘drawing’ a meditating figure with the air between its branches.
I called the picture simply ‘BODY TREE’.
I became that little tree even before Clare’s breathing suggestions and her invitation to call our guardian tree. I was so completely with the experience that this tree was obviously the tree for this session.
Water droplets hung on each new leaf.
I could feel myself shining, brilliant in the sunlight. Each time I trembled, or was stirred by the breeze, droplets fell to the ground. Feeding our network. Feeding the entire Earth. I loved how this felt! So I continued to work with this, mainly.
The Amazon, from an eagle eye’s view became very clear, held by our circle. Vast and Lush. Then as Clare continued with describing its destruction, it’s wounding, I saw the huge scars across the canopy….the gaps in it.
Then I began to ‘see ‘ it fighting back…..I saw a perplexed farmer who, every time he tried to cut back the trees, thousands of tiny seedlings would spring up in their place. I saw vines creeping in real time over cutting machines, strangling them. The jungle became like a huge triffid, accompanied by orangutans and butterflies, swallowing all of man’s attempts to conquer it.
In tiny, water bejewelled, tree-form, I connected deeply with the relationship between this mighty canopy and the clouds and mist that wove through it. I trembled and let ‘my’ water droplets fall. Water became the conduit. I saw all the trees ‘breathing’ in the water and this tree-breathed water rushing into the black, polluted, veins-like deltas of the river and diluting the poison….clearing the water……
I ‘met’ an unidentified Amazon shaman woman. We bowed to one another, she took my hand. She encouraged me to continue with this simple action.
So I trembled /shivered my body over and over, releasing this shimmering gown of water to my roots and off into the wider field. Water flowed from me through my roots, into others in the circle and out wider and wider world. Water hung on my tongue, my tear ducts, my vagina, my ears and nose…..on each hair……each tiny shake and the droplets fell.
I saw myself Shine as this tiny tree.
I did not need to ask it for anything else. It had already shown me so much beauty and given me what I needed in this Time.
Praying for all Life and hoping this connection proves as powerful, as it felt during this meditation, to me.“
Response to meditation posted on Treesister’s Nest
It was only later I was given the understanding of my vision dream when all Time stands still.
Only later I had more warning dreams illustrating a magnificant, Earth, lightning strike and had further bright flashes of realization….but that would be a story for another post…..
working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)
Japanese season called ‘Dalkan’ / greater cold, 20th January – 3rd February.
Micro climate ‘hens start laying eggs’ 30th January – 2nd February.
The weather has been wild these last days.
Dramatic light changing as these fierce weather fronts push over us, powered by these powerful, gusting, winds.
Grateful for the shelter of ‘box house’, these views and little call to action outside.
I made a couple of gifs using images shot through our windows….what is missing is the constant audio of these gales, screaming through every tiny crack of our home!
I sometimes get an ‘end of days’ feeling when it is like this, but that only powers my prayers.
My wee candle lights burn brighter on these dark days.
It is the end of this 72 micro-seasons project though.
The last season.
(now that could be the title of a poem…)
It has been an amazing experience to watch so closely, to make it my business to connect with the natural seasons and tiny changes all around in this way.
I am finding it hard to part with this sharing, giving away, process, but know I must.
It will involve a whole ‘re-wiring’ of my creative approach though, after a, committed, whole year of plucking at the strings of NOW and weaving it into a regular post!
I have recently been asked if I would like to try and create some illustrations for a, talented, story-telling, friend’s tale.
It is a story of Mother Gaia and Father Sun and the coming of the very first winter.
It touches me deeply.
I have already begun experimenting.
It will take all my available artden time to really feel into the soul of her words and I will be prevented from sharing this work as I go along, because the whole idea is to take Time to produce something really special and then take it to mainstream publishers when complete.
This, I know, could take months of unseen work. And no process to share!
So a completely different way of working for me!
And not my natural way of working!
It feels counter-intuitive.
I have loved sitting in the immediacy and my unique, ever changing, ‘song’ of LIFE!
The Rolling OM of it.
Just another busker on the pavement of it all.
Singing my song.
Nothing to do and nowhere to go.
Not speaking for anyone else.
I and I.
I suppose a form of self-portraiture, as well as an observance.
This 72 micro seasons project has been a joy to adopt, as it fitted this way of being so perfectly.
Holding the daily inspired moods (and resulting images, songs, words) within in its many, small, seasons/chapters.
As the planet turns. Always changing. In Time with the Light.
So this mildly eccentric, intimate, multi-dimensional, Gaia-inspired, creative, ‘stream of consciousness’, experiment is now drawing to a close.
Happy to have completed the whole wheel and now I am looking forward to more Time away from this ‘sticky’ screen again!
Looking forward to less relentless editing (words are slippy for me) and a more forgiving structure to my days!
‘Hens’ may have started laying, but I still feel like I am still incubating my peculiar ‘eggs’, I wonder sometimes if one will ever hatch!?
I have very much appreciated, the support, encouragement, cheers and love (especially from dear Treesisters), I have received during this kookie, rather lonely, experiment. You have kept me going!
Thank You all!
Deep Bow, dear friends, and thank you for bearing with me!
All Change and Mind The Gap.
By way of completing the circle it seems fitting to take it all back round to the very first season, with a link to the very first post, although this feels, already, a very long time ago…..
EAST WIND MELTS THE ICE 1/72