Waking up from waking up

I wrote this wacky poem last year but never posted it. It dates from the time
when conspiracy theorists were going on about waking up. The haiku was written some years – it came from an experience of waking up (this time literally – from a night’s sleep) and hearing a voice in my head saying ‘on a quantum level everything is energy’.

Waking up from waking up
I discover there is no fixed point
to hold onto and say
hey yeah – this is it,
I am finally enlightened,
I am fully awake now for sure.
Instead, or so it seems to me,
it’s all evolving consciousness.
Even, so they say, the cosmos
itself is expanding/evolving.

So waking up from waking up
seeing where I was before –
that place I thought was so awake
is just another pitstop on the way
and there’s always somewhere higher,
somewhere clearer
somewhere lighter
to be.

linked to https://earthweal.com/2021/10/08/earthweal-open-link-weekend-87/

Also – just letting you all know I’m taking a blogging break to catch up with some other work.
I’ll be back when I’ve caught up with stuff.

Tree talk

We went back into a snap lockdown on last Sunday at midnight. This is lockdown No.8 here in regional Victoria, Australia. It is supposed to be a seven day lockdown but who knows. Before we were once again restricted by the 10k travel limit I met up with one of my daughters and her kids for a quick catch up. Seeking a place where the kids could run around freely we went to a steep wooded hillside beside a large lake.

The wind was blowing a gale and the kids ran around screaming with excitement at the sense of freedom it gave them. They’ve been cooped up for weeks what with all these lockdowns, remote learning, playgrounds being off limits for some of the time and the swimming pools closed.

My daughter and I braced ourselves against the wind. The force of it whipped our hair around our faces and made our jackets billow out from our bodies. The trees were bent at wild angles and the leaves were tossing about frantically.

The wind in the trees,
the sound of banshees singing
-change hurtles in.

I’m using the time in lockdown to work on my novel.

I’m writing an eco novel set at some unspecified time in the future. In the process I am delving into obscure areas of research. Here’s some unusual facts I learnt recently:-

Electricity from Trees
To extract electricity from trees and convert it into useful energy, researchers built a boost converter capable of picking up as little as a 20 millivolt output and storing it to produce a greater output. By hooking it up to a tree using electrodes, the custom-built device was able to generate an output voltage of 1.1 volts, enough to run low-power sensors… Using the electronic output to keep track of a tree’s health is another possibility. https://www.livescience.com/5711-electricity-harvested-trees.htm

A Finnish company recycles batteries by turning them into plant food

Globally, the disposal of alkaline batteries has become a major problem,” said Adrian Griffin, managing director of Lithium Australia, in a press release. “Our plan for repurposing the active components of the spent cells is not only a significant step towards worldwide environmental management of the issue but could also have a powerful influence on the sustainability of disposable batteries.”

Although some chemicals in batteries are toxic, this new method takes micro-nutrients present in alkaline batteries and turns them into vital food for crops. Zinc, which is present in many alkaline batteries, helps plants to make a chemical called chlorophyll. This is what makes plants green and without it they can’t use sunlight to turn water and CO2 into energy…

The batteries are first crushed, then filtration and purification processes remove toxic elements like mercury and nickel. It is important that these don’t end up in the fertiliser as they could make their way into the food we eat so testing of the final product is rigorous. Once removed, they are sent on to be safely disposed of by hazardous waste treatment plants instead of leaching into the soil as they would if the batteries were sent to landfill.

prompt: https://earthweal.com/2021/09/20/earthweal-weekly-challenge-a-timbered-choir/

The way in is the way out

This week on Earthweal Ingrid asks us to consider ways in which we might find our way of the labyrinth of the Anthropocene.

The way in is the way out.
Change starts with thoughts.
Descartes and the Enlightenment –
all those great minds devising
the mind/body split,
the human/nature division.

The industrial revolution came soon after.
Profit driven mass production
birthing the capitalist mindset
whoopee and hey presto,
fast forward two hundred years
globalisation has enslaved our minds.
Consume, consume, consume,
exploit, extract, abuse.
Don’t think of the environment.
Humans are separate from nature.

The way in is the way out.
Change starts with thoughts.
If we change our way of thinking
our world view shifts.
With humans as part of nature
human/non-human interbeing
co-creates new outcomes for all.

Feeling the joy,
dancing in the green world.
Labyrinthine ways unfolding,
magical passages of dappled light.
New ways of thinking opening
new neural pathways.
The heart/mind connection
illuminates the way forward.

On writing to Earthweal challenges

I’ve spent the last week trawling through this blog looking at all the poems posted here. Most of them were written in response to Earthweal challenges. All of them were written in a heated rush and received very little editing before posting. I have now deleted the worst of them and given many a major edit. A few have been left as they were first written.

In the course of this editing process I came to wondering what this outpouring of words was all about.

Co-incidentally, Brendan of Earthweal this week writes about the nature of work and on the writing of eco-poetry. After reflecting on his own working life he asks us to ‘write of EARTHCRAFT, that work of restoring earthly perfection through craft.https://earthweal.com/2021/05/31/earthweal-weekly-challenge-earthcraft-a-way-of-working/

Unlike Brendan, and probably most of those reading this, I cannot lay claim to an illustrious career working long years in a particular field. My working life has involved working in menial jobs while getting degrees. It has also involved long periods of unemployment and of ill health. Volunteering, part time and unpaid work have also featured.

Often the work I do involves planting trees and cultivating gardens. Usually when the planning, planting and initial cultivation is done I leave and move on to the next project. Trees planted in regeneration areas are left to fend for themselves. The gardens are left for others to care for. I see similarities in that work and the work of writing eco-poetry.

Poems as seeds
scattered on the winds.
borne of necessity.
The pressures
– internal and external –
building up
taking form in words
rambling across pages
then honed, cut, culled
smoothed and shaped
into kernels of ideas.

When writing of eco-poetry as an Earthcraft that seeks to restore earthly perfection Brendan asks: “How is work changing, and what tools are there for keeping balance?’

I cannot claim that my poetry here has attained any form of perfection. All I can say is that after editing all my poems written for Earthweal I am feeling like I have completed a project to the best of my ability.

The urge to write poems is waning for me at present as other forms of creative expression claim my attention. That is the nature of work for me. I get deeply involved in particular projects for a period of time then, to keep myself in balance, I move on to periods of rest and hiatus or to completely different tasks. I’m getting older now and my body doesn’t take well to long hours of manual labour. I planted two trees this week but probably won’t plant any more for quite a while. The same goes for my poetry. I probably won’t write any more for quite a while.

– the path goes ever on

Journey to the Otherworld

This twenty-first century life,
so dire and dark.
It’s getting harder to find the ways in
– the slipstream moments
the lighted windows in trees,
the secret portals –

Slipping down,
imagination the vehicle
diving deeper
the imagination gives way,
something else takes over.
The inner and the outer mesh.

Then, only then,
do the shining ones comes,
tall and resplendent
figures of legend.
Denizens of the inner Earth
since the time before time.
Guardians of ancient knowings
they demand only one thing
– the purest intention.

prompt: https://earthweal.com/2021/05/17/earthweal-weekly-challenge-voyage-to-the-otherworld/


This week Brendan of Earthweal sets a task for the imagination – “What is the turning point that gets us out of this labyrinth of fated humanity? Who or what must we embrace? How do we find our way into the Totality? What are our responsibilities as the only critter in that mix with the power to shape according to our will? How to merge with the squiggly collective when we can’t come close to herding the collective will of Humanity?

In the future

An excerpt from my unfinished scifi novel – in this scene a woman who lives in a complex network of thriving communities tells a girl from an isolated and rigidly controlled society how the communities came into being:-

‘This is what I wanted to show you.’ Kya pointed to steep sandstone pinnacle riddled with shadowy caves. ‘The first people to arrive in Jedahra caved out this place. They tunnelled dwelling places into the soft rock for protection from the heat and storms when the upheavals of climate change were at their worst…

Old songs from that time talk about how the people felt living in the caves connected them to the planet. Jedahra grew out of the understanding that the wellbeing of humanity depends on the wellbeing of the earth.’ She gave Terran a sharp look. ‘That’s why the others have been so suspicious of you. To them you still carry the values of the old culture that led to climate change,’ she said.

Terran gave her a stunned look. ‘Sustainability is a key principle at The Institute,’ she said defensively.

‘I’m talking about more than sustainability,’ Kya replied. ‘I’m talking about a way of living that is abundant and ecologically viable. Jedahra’s first settlers realised that the breakdown of the old system gave them an opportunity to build a new society. A place of ecological balance where everyone has equal opportunities to thrive within a thriving ecosystem.’

A fragment of poetry written in response to Brendan’s challenge – “Lets pick up their narrative set in a time fifty years forward of our current inaction”

The people of the mountain sang.
The wind keened in response.
The elders shivered then stood strong,
their drums pounding out a steady beat.
The shamans danced.

In the communications hub
the tech heads meshed the feed.
Streaming in from across the land
diverse and syncopated rhythms
found a polyphonic harmony
– the equinox ceremony, 2071

from a blog post I wrote in July 2020:-

You may not think it so but the way to Unity lies across a trackless wilderness beneath a darkening sky. Many expect the path to that fabled destination to be a wide avenue lined with roses but no – although the ways to Unity are diverse they all involve venturing into unknown terrain. Unexpected trials and tribulations can befall the traveler as they journey across that rough ground and through those vast swamps of despondency. Many get lost along the way.

Unity is not so much a city as a locality. The people live in holons – self sufficient groups that combine together to form a cohesive whole that is somehow greater than its parts. This larger grouping is known as Unity.

The guiding principle behind this system is that Earth is a living organism and that all life within the biosphere is of value. Strangely even rocks, rivers and mountains are considered to be conscious entities aware of their position in the larger environment.

Many of our children’s children’s children live in Unity. The first founders of the place drifted there after the pandemic when the global economy collapsed. They were seeking a way of life that was more in tune with nature and more accommodating of difference. Of course they knew they would have to build this place themselves.

It began with a collection of caravans, campervans and tents gathered in a remote valley many miles from the nearest city, The remoteness meant that internet connections were sporadic but slowly the word got out. People willing to work hard came from all over the world seeking a simple, peaceful way of life. What they hadn’t necessarily expected was that the hard work was on all levels – physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual. All traces of old separatist thinking had to be released so that new, holistic ways of being could assert themselves.

There are many fabulous sights, philosophies and ways of being at Unity which would take many months to tell. Perhaps the most wondrous of these is that the way to Unity was found during the pandemic. Before that solitary individuals scattered across time and space had stumbled upon the possibility that Unity might exist but it wasn’t until the 2020s that there was a collective awakening. As global conditions worsened more and more people came to see that the way towards a simpler, more ecologically balanced way of living lay within their own hearts and minds. It was these people that began to find ways to traverse the trackless wilderness that lay before them.

Human progess

Believing ourselves to be
the only intelligent life
in the entire cosmos
the human becomes supreme,
the final authority.
Everything else is less than,
incapable of rational thought,
merely instinctual.

By objectifying the world,
by believing only that which can be
and dissected,
the spiritual is negated,
the invisible realms are denied.
Only the external world is real.

With human thought the pinnacle
and men the crowning glory
of life in the universe
all else becomes a resource,
something to be used
to further human progress.
If it doesn’t have a use
it can be discarded,

linked to Earthweal openlink weekend https://earthweal.com/2021/03/26/1211/