Wind blown – I ask myself why did I not spend my time in this town making lino cut images of the trees writhing on the cliff tops?
The closest I got was a series of digital images:-
With my stuff in boxes and my head in a whirl there’s no time or inclination now. Just the questions – why do we make the creative choices we make? – are there right and wrong creative choices? – will I ever find the time and inclination to do all the creative ideas that flit across my addled mind?
Reading an art magazine I came a brief paragraph about a little known Australian woman artist, Violet Teague (1972-1951) who once took a taxi from an outer Melbourne suburb to central Australia. Intrigued, I did an internet search to find out more about her. The more I read, the more interested I became.
Born into a wealthy Melbourne family Violet was educated by a French governess then, later, at a private girl’s school. In the 1890s she travelled to Europe where she visited the art galleries and studied art in Belgium and England. Returning to Melbourne in the early 1900s she established herself portrait painter of international renown. She also co-created a book of woodcuts and haiku style verses with another woman artist. This book is now considered to be the first Australian artist book.
The story of how she came to take a taxi to outback Australia is particularly fascinating. During a prolonged drought in central Australia 1920s the pastor of the Hermannsburg Aboriginal Mission wanted to pipe good drinking water to the mission from a spring 7km away. Neither the church or the government would help him. In 1932 the Melbourne artist Jessie Traill visited Hermannsburg with Violet’s sister, Una. When they returned to Melbourne and told Violet how aboriginal people around the mission were dying because of the drought she became determined to do something.
Hiring a Studebaker taxi and driver Violet and her sister Una journeyed to the mission, nearly 2,500 km away from their home. Camping along the way, Violet painted delicate watercolours of the country they passed through.
When she returned to Melbourne Violet sold her paintings and other works donated by the Victorian Artist Society. She also set up newspaper appeals and was able to raise enough money to pay for the pipe line. Aboriginal men dug the trench to the spring by hand and in 1935 fresh water was piped into the mission.
It is in her paintings of the wild ocean coastline of Victoria that Violet Teague’s strength of character and indomitable spirit finds visual expression. She is an artist that deserves to be better known.
Wandering in the green world the space between the thoughts like the space between breaths becomes the reality the place to rest away from the collapse of old outworn structures.
Focusing on the heart, listening to that deeper beat – the pulse of life itself.
Beneath the tumult and the fear a new way emerges where science melds with older understandings. Humans are part of nature. The separation is in our heads.
from my eco novel The Journey
A grassy path snaked into the forest behind Saranath. Trees arched overhead and the ground was spongy under foot. With each breath of the sweetly scented air and with every step on the soft ground Terran felt her heavy thoughts lifting. The play of light upon the leaves, the gentle breezes against her skin and the sounds of the forest all melded with an awareness of her body moving through the green world. Beside her Bliss gathered fallen leaves, flower petals and feathers she found along the way and bound them to a stick she’d picked up.
‘What are you making?’ Terran asked the gentle child.
‘It’s for the tellings,’ Bliss whispered.
‘What are the tellings?’ Terran asked, mystified.
‘The tellings are part of the Wanderer Ways,’ Bella said because little Bliss seemed unable to find the words to explain her meaning to Terran. ‘The Ways we walk are physical but there are the Ways of the mind and the heart too. The tellings connect us with these deeper Ways. Bliss collects things to remind her of our journey so that she can tell her experience to others.’
‘As we walk in the forest we perceive the world through our five senses,’ Worin said. ‘It is only when we stop and go within that we discover we have been interacting with the world on the inner planes too. When we meet together we tell each other of these perceptions. It is through sharing our deeper feelings, thoughts and intuitions that we come into a greater knowing of ourselves and of the world.’
The Journey is available as an ebook on Kindle and as a paperback on Amazon
prompt: As Dogen Zenji puts it in The Etiquette of Freedom, “the way the self arrays itself is the form of the entire world. Whoever told people that ‘mind’ means thoughts, opinions, ideas, and concepts? Mind means trees, fence posts, tiles and grasses.” (p 17)
Wildness is mind truest to its nature. As Snyder writes in The Practice of the Wild, “to be truly free one must take on the basic conditions as they are — painful, impermanent, open, imperfect — and then be grateful for impermanence and the freedom it grants us. For in a fixed universe there would be no freedom.” https://earthweal.com/2022/02/07/earthweal-weekly-challenge-wild-mind/
In a meditation I found a portal in the corner of my garden beneath the ash tree an opening, a way through into a dimensional shift or, at the very least, an imaginal realm.
Stepping through the houses that line the hill top faded. Became translucent. The ash tree, pruned, cauterized, contained and restricted showed itself as it once was. Limbs growing free, thick and strong, reaching skyward and there beyond it where the houses now stand ~ a wide clear view of the sea.
A vision, for a moment, of a past time in this place. One of many iterations.
Times past, times to come. Wildness as a state of mind, reality as we know it becomes a construct, a way of seeing.
Coming back through the portal into this time, this bounded space, wondering – where did I go? Perhaps into an idea-o-scape ~ imprinted with ancient memories.
Grounding possibilities my current limited life, so pruned and cauterized is inspirited by the vision ~ the wild mind breaks free.