i walk this earth 2214 (f owen, p ward)

a simple film about connecting with the earth – just walking barefoot along a muddy track in west somerset. the film was made with francesca owen as part of our ongoing collaboration and research towards the SOIL CULTURE project 2013-17 led by CCANW and RANE (http://artsandecology.info/pdf/Soil_culture_info_Oct2013.pdf). the images were captured on continuous shooting mode and edited using i-movie. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAi walk this earth – cold feet (video still; f owen/p ward 2014)

© Francesca Owen & Peter Ward 2014


so lately

.

get more closer here

to feeling pulses pulsing

touched each other gentle

tasty ground about

.

lively-landscape-earth-pigments-pva-on-laos-handmade-paper-80x60cm-p-ward-2009_0lively landscape (earth pigments; 80x60cm; p ward 2009)

 .

breathe more deeper deeply

swim beneath the tall trees

eating rainbow clouds up

in you ‘n’ this ‘n’ that

.

a slippery wetness

a dirty earth-ness

a cleansing thirst-ness

of air and spirit fullness

.

clifftop-drama-pencil-on-driftwood-52x36cm-p-ward-2009cliff top drama (pencil on driftwood; 52x36cm; p ward 2009)

 .

we are fools and idiots

and lunatics and mad people

you and I

that we may do well to deny

.

as i jump at the chance

although there is none

to chatter insanely with thee

face to face to face to face

.

cat-and-mouse-earth-pigments-pva-on-laos-handmade-paper-80x60cm-p-ward--2009cat and mouse (pencil; 80x60cm; p ward 2009)

 .

your ear

your mouth

your eye

your heart to start

.

when dancing and prancing

below the sandy meadows

where loam-filled worms

cast the soil and sand

.

for the greenwood

to the fair

for our home

the sea and all these ‘ologies

.

new-drawing-earth-pigments-pva-on-laos-handmade-paper-80x60cm-p-ward-2009new drawing (earth pigments; 80x60cm; p ward 2009)

 .

so mole me over more

and time and time and time

will willfully aspire

to inspire to this end

.

we have no gas or oil

we have but sticks and stones

we have light and fire

we have the power now

.

to let us fly like birds while we can

and spin fine filament in memory (lest we forget)

for futures not yet set in stone

upon which to build our dreams

.

running-inland-oil-on-board58x66cm-p-ward-2008running inland (oil on board; 58x66cm; 2008) 

© P Ward 2013


twilight

birdhill, west somerset, 81113

.

at this time of day,

at this time of year,

as sun sinks – loosing strength and warmth;

nighttime fills shadow with shifting mutable presence

.

the rich autumnal rainbow of wet slippery leaves glow upwards,

permeating the visual with resonant fungal scents,

silver light pervading, filling all with luminescence;

even the dead and decaying give their own light,

dark forms shifting as we walk

catching eye and ear and all between,

bark from black to mossy green to grey

.

it is often said that we may commune more readily with other realms at this time,

with spirits of the dead and intelligences seldom seen;

it is easy to see why.

.

twilight, birdhill 1 (p ward 2013)twilight, birdhill 1 (p ward 2013)

twilight, birdhill 2 (p ward 2013)twilight, birdhill 2 (p ward 2013)

twilight, birdhill 3 (p ward 2013)twilight, birdhill 3 (p ward 2013)

twilight, birdhill 4 (p ward 2013)twilight, birdhill 4 (p ward 2013)

twilight, birdhill 5 (p ward 2013)twilight, birdhill 5 (p ward 2013)

twilight, birdhill 6 (p ward 2013)twilight, birdhill 6 (p ward 2013)

twilight, birdhill 7 (p ward 2013)twilight, birdhill 7 (p ward 2013)

.

But how to capture, beyond personal memory, such total experience within which we do immerse?

My camera, despite its advanced technology, struggles.

Yet, whatever impression it does record, accidental or not,

whether ‘correct’ or ‘accurate’ or ‘technically proficient’,

may still find a way to communicate and convey a sense of elemental moment.

Not just through abstract digital process, as clever as this may be,

but through consensual associative creative and imaginal interaction with life itself –

we fill in the gaps with whatever meaning we need…

.

© P Ward 2013


No Luddite Not

Happiness is an empty fridge. Heaven is no fridge at all!

It is easy to sit here tapping at the backlit keyboard and reminisce nostalgically (but not without difficulty) about a time not so long ago before such devices existed, before the dizzying acceleration of technology allowed communication across the world at our fingertips, before twenty thousand songs could fit miraculously into a matchbox – remember them?! We lit fires with them. We watched flames dance for a whole evening and spoke and sang and danced and were silent as befitted each moment. We dreamt of friends a thousand miles away and prayed for their wellbeing and happiness. We conjured magic in circles and acted with our feet and hands. There is a smell to such memories, a richness, a fullness, a dampness, not sterilized by the plethora of products that eradicate such earthly, dirt-filled unpleasantry today.

graffitied tomb, wells cathedral (p ward 2013) graffitied tomb, wells cathedral[i] (p ward 2013)

What has changed, for better or worse? Are fires and stars and dreams so very far out of reach now or have we just forgotten the threads of the invisible, the wires of wily nature connecting us all? Whatever advances in technology, they are all mere echoes of nature and ourselves; powers made manifest in a more marketable, more user friendly but less skillful form. 

14th century door, wells cathedral (p ward 2013)14th century door, wells cathedral (p ward 2013)

I am no more Luddite[ii] than you – sitting with my face buried in cyberspace, ensconced in this creative moment, enjoying the possibilities of global communion with my kind – under no more pretense that technology has not provided so many wonderful opportunities for resolutions to our mortal sufferings, but I do miss the time and space, the pace of life, without the refrigerator hum, without the incessant barely audible but most discernable white noise of electrical wiring or the constant offer of obsessive digital distraction at my fingertips. I walked and cycled to visit friends, I lit candles when it was dark and woke when it was light, read paper books, waited with patience for children’s programmes to finish, made models with matchsticks and glue, I used what I could find and what I had; I gathered wood, built fires and shelters, I moved more, I felt weather, I breathed air. Things were simpler it seemed and more wholesome. To spend half a day walking to the shop and back, relishing every moment, knowing that my work, my time spent without the use of a car was time well spent, necessitating the need for nothing but good strong legs – a different kind of logic not based on money and fuel.

vicar’s close, one of the oldest constantly residential streets in the world, wells (p ward 2013) vicar’s close, one of the oldest constantly residential streets in the world, wells (p ward 2013)

“As technological devices increase the availability of a commodity or service, they also push these devices into the background where people do not pay attention to their destructive tendencies. To use a metaphor, there is a two-edged sword operating here. Technology increases the availability of goods but the devices that we rely upon to provide us these commodities lie hidden in the background and have a profound adverse effect on people’s lives.[iii]

For every technological advance there is a corresponding fall it seems. I will step outside when I can. Attempt to unravel myself from modernity’s spurious influence and contact a place within myself when I had all the time in the world – time to live and dream right here on this earth.

playing with fire, sparklers in the garden, wells (p ward 2013) playing with fire, sparklers in the garden, wells (p ward 2013)

When I arrived here this evening, at my other half-home, I took the battery from the ticking clock, made a big wood fire in the stone hearth and listened to music from my youth. I greeted the new moon, thankfully nestling in a cloud haze above the tree line and inhaled wood smoke drifting from the line of stone cottages. I heard Nature again.

© P Ward 2013


[i] Wells Cathedral in Somerset, UK, took over 300 years to build, starting in the 12th century. It is hard to imagine working all of your life on one project, one wall, one stone carving and the implications this may have to broader society.

[ii] The Luddites were 19th-century English textile artisans who protested against newly developed labour-saving machinery from 1811 to 1817. The stocking frames, spinning frames and power looms introduced during the Industrial Revolution threatened to replace the artisans with less-skilled, low-wage labourers, leaving them without work. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite

[iii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Device_paradigm with reference to Albert Borgmann, TECHNOLOGY AND THE CHARACTER OF CONTEMPORARY LIFE (Chicago; THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS; 1984)

 


another turn of the wheel 11113

.

a most goodly new turning to all those with their feet on the ground and heads in the clouds!

dawn; four ravens, two pairs, acrobatically energetic, mouths ajar, celebrating animistic reunion.

what better company to have as we enter the dark times again,

one step nearer yesterday, tomorrow, today…

four ravens, the skern (© p ward 2013) four ravens, the skern (© p ward 2013)

collared dove tree, northam (© p ward 2013)collared dove tree, northam (© p ward 2013) collared dove tree, northam (© p ward 2013) 

hidden bundles, northam burrows (© p ward 2013) hidden bundles, northam burrows (© p ward 2013)

© P Ward 2013


even if…

.

even if our actions in this world are bringing life (as we know it) to a rather messy and untimely end,

even if we are polluting and degrading the soil and the oceans and the skies to an irreparable degree,

even if we cannot seem to work out at this stage of our evolution how to partake in, or to share in, the universal abundance for the good of all (when all it takes is a little kindness and common sense),

even if we continue to abuse and degrade all of creation, including ourselves, through greed, ignorance and fear,

.

even if we shout and scream (however cleverly) and make compassionate, intelligent and informed choices in the face of adversity and injustice, but sense no change,

even if we can see how everything has gone so dreadfully wrong,

even if we feel completely powerless in the face of it all,

.

(even if we are fundamentally small and insignificant),

(even if our existence is essentially superfluous to the functioning of the universe),

(even if we will all die one day anyway)…

.

we may still feel wonder

we may still sense beauty and joy

we may still find peace

we may still love

.

this life

.

that we may still survive

.

spirit (p ward 2013) spirit (p ward 2013)

abundance 1, chithurst buddhist monastery, west sussex (p ward 2103) abundance 1, chithurst monastery, west sussex (p ward 2103) 

painting with the earth, art in the woods, courage copse creatives, north devon (p ward 2013) painting with earth, courage copse creatives (yeo valley primary school), north devon (p ward 2013)

abundance 2, westward ho! (p ward 2013) abundance 2, westward ho! (p ward 2013)

sand prints, northam (p ward 2103) sand printings, northam (p ward 2103)

dog and frog, westward ho! (p ward 2013) dog and frog, westward ho! (p ward 2013)

© P Ward 2013


SUCCESS

.

What is success?

.

In this material world it is something I have found hard to come to terms with (or achieve).

As a concept it is difficult to measure, to enjoy and even to aspire to

When judged in terms of, and against, the failings and misfortune of others.

But in a world of animate totality, of dynamic energetic exchange

What might this much-maligned expression denote?

.

If I do not live among mountains, how may I climb them?

 .

momentary composition, westward ho! (p ward 2013) momentary composition, westward ho! (p ward 2013)

 .

Is it simply a moment of movement,

A statement in time of our good-natured evolution,

Taking all and everybody’s best interests into account?

.

Is it a milestone of achievement, material and otherwise,

A gateway to another place, another sense of consciousness,

A breath before another, without judgement,

A knowing as yet unknown?

.

quite cold really, westward ho! (p ward 2013) quite cold really, westward ho! (p ward 2013)

 .

Or is it a building block that we willingly grant ourselves

A stepping-stone, a rope swing, a train of thought, a shift of perspective

That leads us elsewhere?

.

circles around ourselves, northam (p ward + f owen 2013) circles around ourselves, northam (p ward + f owen 2013)

 .

And who is to say, other than ourselves,

If we have succeeded or not in our own intimately chosen path,

If our own limitations have been reached or challenged sufficiently,

Or if those standards are to be universally acknowledged

And recognized by just a few (who should really know better)?

.

paradise, county clare, Ireland (m a ward 2013) paradise, county clare, Ireland (m a ward 2013)

 .

In an ecological sense

Succession is a phase of transition

A holistic progression towards a more fitful state

A communal symbiotic process in relation to all

Without end.

.

I shall keep this in mind

As I fail

As I make fresh and exciting mistakes on a daily basis

As I make ready for change

As I step into the unknown

Yet again…

.

october waves, westward ho! (p ward 2013) october waves, westward ho! (p ward 2013)

 .

© P Ward 2013


space

interlinking circles, northam (p ward 2013)

physically

.

i am aware of my space

i am aware of your space

i am aware of the space between us

and the space around us

i am aware of space

 .

i am conscious of my movement (and its limitations) in space

i am conscious of your movement (and your limitations) in space

i am conscious of any movements that may interrupt this space

this space around us

that is conscious of all our movement within it

 .

whenever I move I dance

whenever I dance I move through space

in relation to you and me and space itself

 .

wherever I am I am moving through space

whether seated or sleeping or running or riding

this space is in motion

and me within it

in relation with

this constant flow

 .

it is beyond my control

but within my awareness

within our awareness

within this dance

where boundaries blur

.

energetically

 .

marking out a dance, westward ho! (p ward:k lee 2013)interlinking circles, northam (p ward 2013); marking out a dance, westward ho! (p ward/k lee 2013)

.

P Ward 2013


I want to go nowhere

.

I want to go nowhere

there is nowhere I want to go

I am quite happy just where I am

getting to know this place in its splendid complexity

mutating

some travel great distances

feet barely touching ground

never long enough to feel the soil grow between these toes

or recognize the neighbourhood blackbird raising her new family

with the tides

there is so much rushing around

it is time to slow down

to the pace of a tortoise

or a frog hopping along in long wet grass

I am at peace

looking very closely

listening really deeply

opening oneself to the pull and push

of this exquisite world with you

 

lichen stone grass, northam; leaf drifting, river torridge (p ward 2013) lichen stone grass, northam; leaf drifting, river torridge (p ward 2013)

P Ward 2013


a return to red

1 hour in west dale 7913

 .

beyond the hubbub and fond farewells

beyond the old friends and celebrations of an age

there is a space for memories made more recently

for futures and time immemorial

 .

sitting between the big red rocks

as sun shines and waves break gently

enjoying the gallery of nature

in its infinite beauty

 .

 

red shoes, west dale (p wrad 2013) red shoes, west dale (p ward 2013)

scratch the stone, west dale (p ward 2013) scratch the stone, west dale (p ward 2013)

white quartzite disc, west dale (p ward 2013) white quartzite disc, west dale (p ward 2013)

wet red stone, west dale (p ward 2013) wet red stone, west dale (p ward 2013)

 

with love

P Ward 2013