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June 2014

May 2014

Archaic values

Bluebells in Nattadon Woods

Wild poppies in Nattadon Wood

''Humans, like other animals, are shaped by the places they inhabit, both individually and collectively. Our bodily rhythms, our moods, cycles of creativity and stillness, even our thoughts are readily engaged and influenced by seasonal patterns in the land. Yet our organic attunement to the local earth is thwarted by our ever-increasing intercourse with our own signs. Transfixed by our technologies, we short-circuit the sensorial reciprocity between our breathing bodies and the bodily terrain. Human awareness folds in upon itself, and the senses – once the crucial site of our engagement with the wild and animate earth – become mere adjuncts of an isolate and abstract mind bent on overcoming an organic reality that now seems disturbingly aloof and arbitrary."

  - David Abram (The Spell of the Sensuous)

Wildflowers in the studio

''I wonder how it is we have come to this place in our society where art and nature are spoke in terms of what is optional, the pastime and concern of the elite?'' - Terry Tempest Williams (Leap)

Tilly in the studio

Tilly in the studio

 ''As a poet I hold the most archaic values on earth...the fertility of the soil, the magic of animals, the power-vision in solitude, the terrifying initiation and rebirth, the love and ecstasy of the dance, the common work of the tribe. I try to hold both history and the wilderness in mind, that my poems may approach the true measure of things and stand against the unbalance and ignorance of our times.''  -  Gary Snyder (The Practice of the Wild)

Practice of the Wild


The Unmapped Country

Nattadon Hill

"We all get lost once in a while, sometimes by choice, sometimes due to forces beyond our control. When we learn what it is our soul needs to learn, the path presents itself. Sometimes we see the way out but wander further and deeper despite ourselves; the fear, the anger or the sadness preventing us returning. Sometimes we prefer to be lost and wandering, sometimes it’s easier. Sometimes we find our own way out. But regardless, always, we are found."  - Cecelia Ahern (Thanks for the Memories)

Nattadon Hill

''There is a great deal of unmapped country within us which would have to be taken into account in an explanation of our gusts and storms.''  - George Eliot (Daniel Deronda)

Nattadon Hill

''To lose yourself: a voluptuous surrender, lost in your arms, lost to the world, utterly immersed in what is present so that its surroundings fade away...To be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery.'' - Rebecca Solnit (A Field Guide to Getting Lost)

Nattadon Hill

"One thing has led to the next in my life, but like lines of a poem. I suppose I've thrown in my lot with love, and don't know any other way to go on breathing.''  - David Guterson (The Other)

Nattadon Hill

"We must hold in our minds these utterly contradictory thoughts: not one of us matters at all; each of us is infinitely precious."  -  Janice Emily Bowers (A Full Life in a Small Place: Essays from a Desert Garden)

Nattadon Hill


Beauty, grace, and morning mist

Tilly on the rocks

"The beauty of the world...has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.''  - Virginia Woolf (A Room of One's Own)

Tilly on the Rocks

"When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."  - Buckminster Fuller

Tilly on the Rocks

"You can have the other words –- chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it."  - Mary Oliver (Winter Hours)

Tilly on the Rocks

"In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.''   - Siddhartha Guatama Buddha

Tilly on the Rocks

Today, as Tilly and I climb through mist, and dawn breaks over Nattadon Hill, I am grateful for beauty. Attempting to live gently. And striving, always, for grace.


Tune for a Monday Morning

Today's tune comes with a "yarn animation" by the BAFTA nominsated writer/director/animator Ainslie Henderson, created for "Moving On" by James, the Britpop band out of Manchester. It's absolutely beautiful...and hard to get through with dry eyes.

"Ainslie’s animation is wonderful, heartfelt, truthful, innocent, and reveals a true storyteller," says James' lead singer, Tim Booth. "As a band we were determined to work with him even if it meant dipping into our own pockets. Animation takes weeks and is painstaking work, for the animator, compared to that of most videos. I remember standing in a back garden in Highbury, mobile burning my ear, as I told him in detail of my mother’s death and that of my friend Gabrielle – the twin inspirations for 'Moving On.' My mother’s death was clearly a birth of some kind and that description caught Ainslie’s imagination.

"Two days later, with perfect timing, his video script came through on my email, as I was having a meeting with our manager Peter, trying to persuade him that we should pay the extra needed to work with Ainslie. I tried reading it to Peter but couldn’t complete it due to tears. Peter read it and welled up. That Ainslie found such a perfect medium to fit our song blows us away."

And Ainslie Henderson says: "My connection with James is a long and evolving one. The first time I heard their music was sitting at a friend’s house, aged 18, stoned and confused. ‘Sometimes’ was playing, I remember feeling something that until then I didn’t know pop music could make you feel. I thought crying was only for when you feel loss or sadness. Pop music, but woven with something sincere and yearning, passionate and beautiful."

Moving On by Ainslie Henderson and James