Tagged: video

original official Standing As Earth Banner

STANDING AS EARTH : January 13th – February 12th 2021 #standingasearth

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.
Tree Seeds.
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…..

kat robertson artist

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…..

kat robertson artist

The Beech hedge whispered ‘Sssssh…..ssssh’……

kat robertson artist

Mole spoke to me of staying buzy, but remaining underground, unseen…..

kat robertson artist

Mosses demonstrated how to cling on and thrive, on only cold, ungiving, stone……

kat robertson artist

But I was not really listening …….
And worms writhed in the compost heap of my mind, giving birth to strange new, artifical, creatures….

kat robertson artist

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.

kat robertson artist

Celebrate their Beauty.

kat robertson artist

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.

kat robertson artist

It is Imbolc.
A time of Rebirth. Of Future. A Time of New Beginnings and Returning Light.
Humble Snowdrops blaze a fanfare.
Hope Incarnate.
Spring is on its way.

The soil gives way to green, urgent, spears of New Life, pushing up toward the Sun.

kat robertson artist

Even, inside our winter home, the houseplants put on a show of wondrous, exotic, blooms.

kat robertson artist

Out walking I was shown something weird, almost alien, something that I had never encountered before.
Sea squirts!
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.

kat robertson artist

Then we were invited to dig deep and find our authentic Howl.
Always a tough one.

kat robertson artist

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.

kat robertson artist

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.)

kat robertson artist

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.

kat robertson artist

Still.
Rarely witnessed and, in the main, uncelebrated.

kat robertson artist

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.

kat robertson artist

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.

Still Standing.

Kat Robertson. Standing As Earth. Imbolc 2021



I am staring at this screen.
How to condense the Experience?
It’s impossible!
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
Here.
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,
Thawed.

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

“Ssssssh…..Sssssh….” EARTH

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. )

A Joy Spiral for Kathie W.

All in the link!

“What happens when an online sister requests of the world that her freinds connect with each other and create Joy Spirals as her birthday wish. Asks for them to do something, anything!
In this instance, one plays violin, sent the clip to another, who then paints in mud while listening! Never having met before, yet all connecting in the moment. Such fun!! Let us all create Joy Spirals!”
Kat Robertson

May the path of the Rainbow Serpent be clear 12. 01.2020

As part of my intense focus and support of the Aboriginal ceremony taking place on Uluru this day. I thought I’d ‘activate’ this painting from 2018.

The music is called ‘Kiparra : The Awakening’ from Spirit of Uluru album, a collection of aboriginal music.

EMPATHY 4/7

(working inspired by the ‘7 Days of Rest and Radiant Diversity 2020‘ global, online, earth healing, experiment)

Difficult to settle this morning.
Watered, and talked to, all my houseplants.
Loved watching the birds as I did the dishes.
This is how my mind felt this morning.
Darting about all over the place.
Like the wren I saw first thing today.
So quick and bright.
Is this empathy?
How I watch and, in watching, feel how light, fast and miraculous these tiny birds are?
Recognizing my own mind in their darting movements?
How I feel for the birds in winter and so put out food for them?

Or is it just my selfish delight, the acute pleasure of standing in our, warm, house and watching them through the glass, jumping with life and taking it in turns.
Well….they take it in turns most of the time…..watch that goldfinch!

By the time I got into the artden today I thought I knew what I was going to do.
But then yesterday’s drawing of the Moss Caller began to annoy me…it really had not captured the character I encountered in the mandala the day before.
Moss Caller was a much kinder faced, more Empathic being.
I suddenly saw a way to make the failed digital experiments of yesterday work. I had to give it another go.
(All the while wondering why I was not concentrating on Empathy and listening to Shelley Ostroff’s guided meditation for the day.)
The, carefully measured, little pencil drawing (below) went ok, but I just couldn’t get the photoshop idea to work.
I gave up on that and then made a GIF, illustrating the way these mud paintings dry …. it worked brilliantly, but then I saved it in the wrong format, having already deleted the project.
Gone.
So that was 2 precious hours wasted.

Time to get in the zone and focus.

I listened to Shelley Ostroff’s Empathy guided meditation.

When asked to envision what Empathy might look like, Empathy looked like me!
I feel a bit embarrassed admitting that, but ‘she’ did!
I suppose that being the very best at ‘standing in another’s shoes’ could mean Empathy can appear like them?

I rested deeply and let the meditation move through me.
Letting go and rooting. It was a deep, nourishing experience.
As I slowly opened my eyes I realised that I did, really, want to continue working with this pencil drawing.
That I really wanted to use the mud with it….. soon I was in that inspired, creative, buzzing, mindful-mindless, zone again.
Bliss.
This is the stuff that heals the world.
I actually believe that and in showing gratitude for this gift of letting go.


What I learned was that one can have ’empathy’ for a medium too. Learning what it likes and does not like. What works and what doesn’t.
It is a very intimate relationship.
Every time I work with soil/water I am feeling into it, always learning something new.

I made a slide show that shows how much the painting changes as it drys. This is all part of the joy I have in working with soil.
It kind of looses all definition and becomes flat, opaque, dusty….. muddy.

But then….when I add the linseed oil ‘sealant’ it all ‘pops’!

The only thing is …. I have little real control over what the finished piece will actually look like…and no way of turning back.

Loving ‘finding’ new effective ways to move the mud around, always thinking ahead to this point in the process.

And as I do so it is impossible not to gain deeper understanding of the moss that inspired this, to feel the sense of this being sacred SOIL I am working with and I feel some satisfaction in seeing the Moss Caller I ‘saw’ better represented, in the end.

Is that a kind of empathy too?

I love it when a project does not end up in the bin.

Anyone empathize?

kat robertson artist

heat starts to die down 41/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Shosho’ / manageable heat, 23rd August – 7th September
Micro climate ‘heat starts to die down’ 28th August – 1st September.

Heat is really dying down…but rain and wind factors are on the increase!
Could not beat the rain the other day so decided to play with it!
Got out all our metal pots and recorded the sound of the rain playing them.
Then made prints by rolling black poster paint onto a sheet of glass and letting the rain ‘paint’ them…taking mono-prints with paper.
Quite pleased with these and resulting video.
Clever rain.

rain print collection with rain sound track from Kat Robertson on Vimeo.

And right now…..it’s the wind….spun round to a new direction….from the North now…..currently 36mph, but predicted to go up to 45mph within the next couple of hours…..cannot settle to anything….have to keep checking the tent tipi ‘workshop’ …and watching out of the window….had to re-peg a couple of times already as ground is pretty soft….going to be an unsettling afternoon!

Gaia is testing me!

tentipi in 45mph winds from Kat Robertson on Vimeo.

The wee Gaia-hut is standing strong and stable though…..no problems there! Grateful we did not have this wind during the opening!
Here are a few more pictures of it, with a different ‘display’ for the 2nd weekend, and other random pics from this dramatic weather season and had to share this well-dressed caterpillar I caught basking in a quick sunny moment!

cotton flowers bloom 40/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Shosho’ / manageable heat, 23rd August – 7th September
Micro climate ‘cotton flowers bloom’ 23rd – 27th August.

And now it is over for this weekend!
This season was all about a kind of ‘blooming’ for me, but not of the cotton flower variety!! A personal blooming….the sharing of my dream with the public. The weather was unexpectedly ‘manageable’ too!

It all passed in a blur.
Impossible to share all the ups and downs.
I had to open it not quite finished. The two wings not attached (one wing not yet built). The door window only suggested by a frame, the wood-burner and solar power not connected and all the curious decorations not yet, intuitively, found.
This has meant that the original idea of the ”heART’ being on the OUTSIDE (and the working ‘studio’ within) was not, as yet, achievable, due to lack of cover, but I was happy with the compromise I found.
I did not get any pictures of it with visitors in it, or around it, enjoying the space, which I regret, but, all in all, it was a success.
Few real sales….my ‘pot’ remains in severe negative….but lots of positive communication and sharing, which is the hut’s real aim.
I learned a lot about how to ‘open’ up such a thing and still remain genuine, true to it’s essence. Sometimes that meant toughening up and learning how much of myself to share.
I had prepared so much to give…but when visitors arrive in separate groups, or when I just let them lead me there was always so much left unexplored…..I had prepared ‘gifts’, for all that made it up here, that sometimes were left ungiven, not everyone got the ‘dot’ they were entitled to, I forgot, once, to make a coffee that someone asked for, sometimes I babbled nervously, sometimes I was solid in my skin and grounded. Sometimes I felt confident….sometimes I was crying inside.

But as the weekend went on I learned more and more about how to ‘pitch’ (and use) this, also new to me, venue.

A tiny vole took up residence under the wagon for the duration of the ‘show’ and kept me company in the hours in between visitors. Dragonflies often whirred past, in the sunshine, and reminded me of the whole illusion. Walking around, in bare feet, I became very aware of the black ‘rain beetles’ scuttling about and enjoyed ‘remembering’ the old superstition, careful not to tread on them….and you know…it did not rain! Not for the whole event…not much anyway!!

Those hours , in between, were the first real moments of peace and calm I had had for, what feels like, weeks and weeks.

It was done. All set up. There was little to do except enjoy it and it’s surrounds….

I received a letter of thanks (with a link to a local foraging event) from one visitor and these words poured out of me by way of a reply. probably more than was required (ever the ‘too much’ woman!), but I think I will add it here as it says so much more about how this experience landed with me….she had commented on my garden and this is where it begins, this is where it all begins….the land….

“Dear ‘Visitor to Gaia-hut ‘, (name changed)

Thank you so much for making the trip up to mine and I am very happy that you enjoyed!

Yes, the garden was all about making something good out of a disaster.

Unfortunately the exposure up here has not been kind to it.

I planted/created it in the lea of the prevailing winds where my, more traditional, veg patch had been, so the soil had been well fed for 6 years. And I used that soil to fill the tyres. But with these climate changes we suffered harsh, ‘new’, winds from the EAST in May, that were pretty devastating! And then I had to go away for the whole of July, and my deep love of many wild, vigorous, but medicinal, ‘weeds’ meant, that when I returned, it was ALL (including the middle) waist high in grasses and many of my less hardy plants had suffered….but a good days ‘weeding’ brought it back to what you saw!

There is loads in there….many medicinal and other ‘common’, but to me, magical, plants. And I seem to have a self-seeded lifetimes supply of delicious sorrel!

I use the plants every day in salad and browse medicinally. Preferring to nibble fresh than prepare tinctures etc. I do do a lot of preserving though. Happy to get rhubarb, blackcurrants, (white and red), gooseberries, mint, parsley, nasturtiums, chamomile, borage, yarrow, dill, rosemary (but have a better bush near the house), sage, wild strawberries, rocket, beets, yarrow, bay willow herb, red campion, and lots more, all from that messy looking ‘medicine wheel’. Sadly the fruit trees have also suffered the exposure here, but have had 3 plums and a few apples this year too!

I rescue a lot of plants and transplant….so have many alders this year to transplant as ‘shelter’ on the east side….alder being a tree I also use to get pigment for my ‘heART’. Very excited to get courgettes and now a couple of pumpkins too from 4 year old seed! The tyre experiments continue! Some purists say that the ‘rubber’ gets into the produce…but many do not agree. I am enjoying my experiments anyway!

My approach is basically to rarely buy anything for the garden….most is self-seeded (I love those!), transplanted or grown from seeds collected the year before….and sometimes rescued, half-dead, from supermarket trolleys! Working ‘with’ rather than against what is already here…..

Thank you for the link…..I have attended several foraging walks in my time…and while I nearly always glean some new ‘tit-bit’ the majority is covering things I already know! And with our finances being what they are at the moment I simply cannot justify paying out for these kind of experiences.  I enjoyed the video. Thank you. She is lovely!! What a magnetic, gentle, shiny, dedicated spirit she has! I so admire these young ‘ancients’ that are rising now….and you have inspired me to incorporate more of this side of things into the ‘travelling side show’ that is my long held dream!

I am not really a ‘people person’….it takes a lot for me to open up my soul to the public like this and I find it very draining. It takes away from my real ‘work’. But this adventure has helped me begin to ‘define’ myself better!

My main work now is having THE conversation with others, globally, about how to successfully negotiate the knowing that we have now, long passed ‘tipping’ point and how to, peacefully, assimilate the fact that all of us are in some way guilty of creating it. The internet is both a gift and a horror and really is what we make it….Artificial intelligence is fed by our data. That same AI is shaping the next generation. I see it as a responsibility of mine to feed it, so it learns, with LOVE, images of nature, and my experiments are a way of illustrating how we all can strip ourselves of so much ‘consumer’ conditioning and learn to find new ways of being open to what our ‘Mother’ offers. Evolve into a Restorer species. Write a new narrative. Largely inspired by having lived with real tribes and having an intuitive understanding of all we, as a society, have lost and urgently need to re-gain. The other aspect of my ‘work’ is to encourage those younger than me to rebel, to take action, to continue the fight against corporations etc. FOR LIFE. FOR OUR PLANET. I have been doing this for years now. Myself and other ‘grandmothers’ are, collectively, the push, that I fiercely believe, is giving birth to wonderful young women like this!! We believe that this is important work, of an invisible nature….impossible to sell….living life as a prayer.

My, more physical, ‘heART’ simply a by-product of this.

So this older now, shy, crone plugs into Gaia. Just me and ‘her’, in relationship, on a fairly lonely hill top in Scotland…and I respond to her ‘gifts’ daily (each new day a gift of learning)…to the beauty and tragedy of it ALL.
Both in celebration and as an act of remembering. I am becoming, again, ‘her’ dedicated servant. My ‘service’ to share only the experience with the world….

Apologies too if this is language foreign to you….I do now exist in a different, parallel, time-frame.
I struggle terribly with all those other structures imposed on us. Forms, box-filling, funding, business reality…in a world which no longer celebrates the visionaries and dreamers….but, now, more than ever, determined to find ways to take this, through my Gaia ‘hut’, out into the community.

The weekend has taught me much. My ‘best’ visit….by far….was a family of young children. So open, so curious and playful. Lots of questions and touching. I thrilled them with my puppets and taught them so much about trees and shared old stories…..it was also a delight to see their mother so happy with my ‘doings’ and engaging with her children in learning!

I think that I have grown to fear ‘adult’ judgement too much, been too hurt over the last few decades and that if I am to focus my efforts in this physical way….my audience must be children and the telling/sharing of these ancient wisdoms.

I experience real grief when I encounter ‘closed’ people…those who visit with their eyes shut….who are simply consuming. Those, who even if the ‘art’ on offer is not to their taste, can find no kind words of encouragement or simply seem not to see the effort put in by the human being standing in front of them. Is this ignorance or simple rudeness, shyness or fear? That I do not know….but I am always stunned by how many walk this Earth in this unfeeling state.

Happily I have also identified another shamanically orientated woman, living locally, who is interested in gathering, physically, in circle and doing this work for the Earth and not as a paying part of her workshops!! So all good!

I thank you dear (visitor)…for initiating the finding of these words! Already a productive day for me and not yet 10am! I do seek ways to survive these brutal systems and fight to continue to live in the bigger picture….the economic wheels a constant torture for the likes of me. My mission to keep our collective dreaming ALIVE….and to encourage the opening of eyes to the true majesty and wonder of all that is and our dependence on it…..for I feel sure that somewhere in this way of seeing lies miracles beyond our imagining.

Big Earth Love,

Kat Robertson”

And so here follows a video ‘virtual tour’ of how it looked, and a simple collection of images from over this productive ‘season’ and ….and I look forward to opening again next weekend!
The forecast is less encouraging and I had hoped to complete the build in these days in between, but that is not to be.
I, and my Gaia-hut experience, are not quite ready….but surely will be for summer 2020!
Call this a preview of sorts!
I have all autumn and winter to play with this space. To learn it properly. To devise the puppet show and fine tune the presentation….
Another interesting opportunity that has presented is the idea of going ‘on tour’ in Scotland with a friend’s vegan pop-up, ‘Catch-a-Carrot’ next year. She is less ‘disabled’ with all things official (insurance/funding etc) so that would be a great help for this Asperger’s type! Exciting!
Who knows where this wee trailer will get to in 2020!

Gaia hut August 2019 from Kat Robertson on Vimeo.

Click on first image to view as ‘gallery’ and get more of the story…..


evening cicadas sing 38/72

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

Japanese season called ‘RisshO’ / beginning of autumn, 8th – 22nd August
Micro climate ‘evening cicadas sing’ 13th-17th August.

Any who follow this blog will, perhaps, notice that I have got behind in keeping up with these seasons!

I can say it has been a tremendous (and extremely anxious) push to get my trailer ready to show for the opening on the 23rd August! I had fallen far behind and all power has been put into the build and garden preparation!
I am however going to cheat and ‘back post’ so all is still in order……

Normally I would refer to photographs that I took over this time….but I was so busy that I did not take any!! I just checked my journal for any insights or poems and, very unusually, no entries there either. And in my case, that is never a good sign…

But what I remember was only an intense feelings of pure fear!

What was I doing opening’myself’ up to the public like this!!?
I had days and days of just standing and breathing, thinking what I could do next. Often feeling it was all unraveling and this danced with climate fears in my psyche.
My home and family became hideously neglected and subjected to my regular outbursts and premature expressions that it was all pointless, that I was destined forever to be fool and that everyone would find me ridiculous.
The financial side of things was also looking bleak as I seemed only to be putting out, with little real hope of anything coming back into the pot.
What normally would heal me, meditation and connections with nature, descended into a mush of confused lists and rushing thoughts.
I became all in my head.
And the weather was totally unpredictable.
How could I find the love for Mother Nature when she was so obviously working against me and my open air venue!

This was never going to work….or so I kept telling myself….this was her message to me…on the wrong path….

My boys went back to school on the 15th, so there were all the usual last minute needs…on top of everything else. I loathe sending them back into that ‘system’ and our lack of funds had meant that they had not had much of a holiday….especially the older son who had not come to Edinburgh with us.
I felt so split and selfish for putting my needs before theirs. Throwing myself, unhappily into finishing the tongue and groove lining for the trailer and painting it all. But finding little joy in it. Could barely get started each day.

It all looked rubbish to me. A big joke.

We went to the cinema and watched the new Spiderman movie….did some family things…..I lost myself in mindless consumption and planning….

So no ‘singing’ here….unless the whirr of an overly anxious brain could be compared to the roar of those wonderful insects on a hot, sunny day in Greece!!

Nothing to share from this time, so will attach a short film of those real cicadas I took two years ago in Corfu…at least that is on theme of the season….in a place were the sun seems always to shine….
Back in the days when I still saw flying as a viable choice and when we could afford such a luxury…..

Sacred Olive Grove. from Kat Robertson on Vimeo.

cool winds blow 37/75

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

Japanese season called ‘RisshO’ / beginning of autumn, 8th – 22nd August
Micro climate ‘cool winds blow’, 8th-12th August.

Getting behind with this project!

We certainly have been experiencing ‘cool winds’, or rather, sudden gales, on the hill, here in Scotland!

Punctuated with absolutely heavenly, blissful days of late summer, then back to gales and heavy rain the next day.

There has been thunder and I have had a couple of ‘feeling autumn in the air’ moments….the reddening rowan berries always bring it to attention…..

Such extremes of weather.

And the resulting fluctuating moods.

Time flying by.

Lots going on.

I was gutted when a fierce, Easterly, gale snapped the pole of my bird-feeder/willow experiment.

I had made many mistakes when I ‘planted’ this. I had glibly thought it would be fun to plant a few willows around the severe looking metal bird-feeder and train them in a spiral around it. It has been growing pretty happily for 5 years now and the birds and I have really been enjoying it!

Then, in the last two years, the weight of it’s leafy crown caused an immense ‘sail’ effect and the branches began snapping in these late summer gales. I have been giving it a severe, early, haircut to prevent this.

And now the pole itself has snapped….

The rigidity of the metal feeder had been robbing the willow of the flexibility necessary to survive these strong winds.

Supported by the pole it grew bigger, but weaker….then when the hollow, sectioned, tent-style pole snapped, the raw edge was scarring the trees in the wind, on the inside….

But, amazingly, the pole worked its way out and it (the entire installation) ‘fell’/bent under the weight of summer foliage.

The willows retained, though, the flexibility to lie horizontally across the lawn without breaking!

Scarred, but far from dead. All connected. Bendy willow.



Most gardeners I know would wonder why I just did not cut it right down and dig it out!

But I’ve actioned some possible solutions, in order to save it, by removing a section of the remaining pole (that had not ‘grown’ into the willow) from the ‘inside’, hopefully allowing a bit more flexibility, giving it all an even more serious haircut (to prevent wind blow) and providing a little support in the form of a string tied to the downpipe of our house!

Hope it re-grows stronger now….even with remaining, grown-in, metal appendages lodged in it’s crown!!

I see many parallels in this small story with our human relationship with nature.
Our attempts to push nature to our needs/whims. Artificial, so called ‘supporting systems’ making us all ‘grow bigger, but weaker’, all life threatened as rigid systems refuse to ‘bend’, how ‘it all falls’ when the systems themselves snap, only hope for survival of living things becoming to remove as much as possible of said ‘artificial, rigid, pole’, leaving only the best bits, the bits we know work, suffer some ‘cut-backs’ and use the experience to grow stronger, more resilient, having learned our lessons…..and with a little gentle, love and care….to come into right relationship….from better foundations.

I have managed to get some work done on the tiny gallery, but am really beginning to panic that it will not get finished….I always worry too much….it has walls to hang art on…and I am always up to something interesting! I can imagine that being a visitor that finds ‘artist’ swearing and building a door…. could also be interesting! And a chance to stop and have a cup of tea will always be welcome!

Here’s a wee gallery of this seasons best pics from the hill….autumn certainly does seem to creeping up on us….

hawks learn to fly 33/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Shosho’/ lesser heat, 7th July until 22nd July .
Micro climate ‘hawks learn to fly’ 17th – 22nd July.

We are staying, for this month away, in the most beautiful, old, Scottish ‘castle’!

Crookston House Bed and Breakfast.

A family-run old estate house. My first cousin and his extended family have taken on the enormous task of keeping it running, with a good bit of help from the remaining previous generation too!

While not cheap I highly recommend it as a great place to stay (only 18 miles outside Edinburgh) or perhaps, as a special treat stop-off, just off the A7. It really is quite a stunning location.

It has been the most wonderful oasis to return to after the noise and grind of the city streets.

Moving from one extreme to the next….from pavement to palace.

The extensive grounds are totally magical and full of wildlife and stunning mature trees. Some of which I shared previously. Daily I encounter deer, hare and squirrels. I have seen hosts of butterflies (including migratory painted ladies) and wood pigeons are everywhere. The pond is full of tiny ‘froglets’….but what has caught my attention most has been the extensive rookery behind the house.

Large stands of magnificent Wellingtonia pines dominate the landscape behind the house.
They stand at the edge of a woodland.
There is a group of huge Scots pines in the centre of this and every dawn and evening the rooks come to life screaming and cackling as they launch or come in to roost.
I tried for ‘crow dipper sprouts’ micro-climate to capture this spectacle, but failed…so I thought, for this micro season, I’d venture out again and try and capture this spectacle….

These are the pictures from the second walk out into the woods, this time in the evening…..

The sunset catching on the red bark of the Wellingtonia….

I sat on the ground and waited in the undergrowth for the rooks to come.
Then I was very startled by a deer buck jumping up and barking loudly very near to where I was sitting, hidden in the undergrowth, and I decided to stand, as I did not fancy getting gored.
In fact, as it got darker and darker, I experienced a kind of fear creeping over me.
That ‘fear of the wild’ that I very rarely experience.
Fantasies of the rooks attacking me, the strength in their beaks and claws, if they should decide to do so.
The deer stabbing me with it’s antlers, jabbing with its powerful hooves…..I began talking out loud to the forest, assuring it that I came in peace!

I felt suddenly so very vulnerable standing there in the gloaming in my peach T-shirt….very soft shelled…

I needn’t have worried.
As it turned out the rooks were more frightened of me. Possibly as some farmers still deter rooks by firing at them?
They took several fly overs, but seemed unwilling to come in to roost until I had gone….I think in this clip I can hear the young in the nests calling to the parent birds as they go over, but then falling silent, almost on a cawed command.
It became too dark to keep filming and I thought I had better go back down to the house and leave them in peace.

Rooks roost…..almost! from Kat Robertson on Vimeo.

I returned with another fistful of ‘gifted’, beautiful, blue-black feathers from under the trees…for my hat and my collection. And their calls rang out as I got into bed…the rooks had finally felt safe enough to roost.

My beloved protest/street art bowler with the rooks feathers stuck in its brim.

first lotus blossoms 32/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Shosho’/ lesser heat, 7th July until 22nd July .
Micro climate ‘first lotus blossoms’ 12th – 16th July.

Nothing as exotic as a lotus to report!
But, on the ‘pond’ theme, my son and I were privileged to witness a huge ‘coming out’ of the froglets from the pond at Crookston House where we are staying. They were everywhere!! We had to be very careful where we put our feet!

Back to the city and I joined a free workshop that was run as part of the ‘Victoria Crowe‘ retrospective at the City Art Centre.
I think she is my new favorite artist. My mind was properly blown after wandering through the galleries. Such a great feeling for nature and, particularly, trees. Inspirational too as she is still working now…into her 70’s.
The workshop was described as ‘Known and Imagined World’.
The title alone intrigued me.
The participants were encouraged to go out into Princes Street Gardens and find natural things of interest and bring them back to the gallery to use creatively, using inspiration from this wonderful artist….what I had not picked up on is that this was primarily designed for kids!!
Maia (9 1/2) and I had a lovely time!
And through this I made, a new, to me, tree-friend.
The Nothofagus betuloides, or Southern beech.
I always think I am pretty good at my trees, but this one had me stumped…even with Google, until the workshop ‘leader’ phoned a tree knowledgeable friend.
Only then was I even in the right family….

I sat and sketched it with a biro in my pad and watched as all the children interacted with it. I have a big soft spot for city park ‘climbing trees’….something so enduring about the way that, for sometimes centuries, they allow the children to clamber all over them….often polished by all the shoes and historical messages carved into their bark….

And then I wrote a poem for it….

To the unidentified 'climbing tree' in Princes Street Gardens, south.

I can tell how you are loved and touched,
as the earth shows beneath you, worn by many feet.
The way you lean is inviting.
Promising a safe height.
Your bark is furrowed and wrinkled,
Like a grandmother's smile.

As the wind pushes the sun in and out,
your contrasting shadows dance across your scaled skin.
Five stemmed trunk and growing out of the ground,
Like a hand.

Sometimes this hand is full of children.

At first I thought you were a pine, until I looked more closely.
No tree I have ever met before!

Dense tiny leaves and papery seeds....

"Mama. Mama! Look a special tree!"

A special tree indeed.

The children do not care what we have labelled you....
Only that you lean out so invitingly.

Kat Robertson
18th July 2019, Princes Street Gdns, Edinburgh.