on being grounded…

 Arrrrgh, Let me OUT!! (pen on envelope on human head) © p ward 2019

 

there are some of us

who are accused

of being ‘grounded’:

 

perceiving the world and our actions

through a balanced, responsible and rational lens

rooted in practicality and common sense.

 

but then some of us have also been ‘grounded’ as punishment,

our freedom curtailed by a parent or guardian

for actions that often do not lie within preconceived moral boundaries,

 

boundaries of balance, responsibility and rationality,

often rooted in practicality and common sense

often according to Nature and her Laws

 

Teignmouth, South Devon; Big Silver Bentley, Gurnard’s Head, Cornwall © p ward 2019

 

but how we wish to fly

to shed the shackles of good sense

for other and ourselves

 

in search of learning, perspective and sensual joy

defining new boundaries beyond our knowledge

or otherwise fleeting original experience

 

before our time is out

 

in magic

we see

in magic

we live

 

Trease Mine, Boscaswell, Cornwall © p ward 2019

 

© P Ward 2019


and yet…

this climate emergency, part 2

drawing on my face 4: seeing (masking tape and marker pen on human head) © p ward 2019

and yet,

 

the sun and moon still rise and fall

birds sing

grass grows

everything is somehow in place.

 

despite imagery evocative of an abrupt demise,

despite rising popular opinion and attendant fearful frenzy,

despite the corroboration of a high percentage of scientific peers,

despite indicative physical, ideological and pecuniary global suffering and conflict,

despite a lifelong personal acknowledgement of our continuing abuse of Nature…

 

I do not sense

I do not feel

the end.

 

I cannot sense

I cannot feel

the end.

 

I do not, cannot

and will not accept

the end.

 

so what of instinct and intuition (the antithesis of science)?

what of individual response?

what of collective consciousness?

what of the uninformed, the common man?

are we, en masse, running from the ensuing fire?

and anyway, where can we run in this apparent global catastrophe?

 

if I do not feel it,

if I stand aside the mindful stampede,

am I simply burying my head in the sand

in denial of empirical objectivity,

in fear of the inevitable?

 

or is it that

I do not know within my power what more I may do?

 

as I stand on this excellent brink of oblivion, this ending of sorts,

with the knowledge, wisdom and capability of all I have before

there is opportunity

there is technology

and there is love.

 

I must either believe in the magic and wonder of the human spirit within Nature or not

 

like every day

like any day

I breath

I choose

I act according to (my) Nature…

 

drawing on my face 4: seeing (masking tape and marker pen on human head) © p ward 2019

 

© P Ward 2019


it is like being told I am dying

this climate emergency, part 1

 

in a climate of overwhelming societal and professional expectation as an artist and an earth being i have struggled to know how to meaningfully and effectively respond directly to this ever-present issue. here are some of my thoughts and feelings expressed through words and an ongoing visual project…

 

it is like being told I am dying

that I am in the final stages of a terminal disease

after a long chronic illness or complaint

and that if I live the way I always should have,

the way I always have,

the way I have always known I should,

the way I have always said we should,

then maybe, maybe, maybe

I will not die.

 

it is like being told I am dying

but that everyone else and every other life is dying too.

that we are all dying and that it is all our own fault,

well, maybe not allour own fault

but somebody’s fault, some system’s fault, some thought-form’s fault,

that this beauty, this wonder that we experience on a daily basis

will no longer exist (for us)

because of us

 

it is like being told that everything and everybody that we love

is going to die, to not be.

 

it is a just like dying,

my experience of dying and death

in normallife –

 

we are all dying.

we are all going to die.

we are all living with the knowledge that we are all going to die,

that everything and everybody that we love is going to die

and that we shall experience suffering (and joy)

together.

 

it is still a shock when it comes.

when the reality of our imminent passing becomes apparent.

the utter enormity of it 

combined with our inherent inability to conceive of such.

 

and who are we to talk to

other than those others similarly afflicted and condemned,

others who love and feel and care,

those who are afraid of what might become?

 

so

how shall we live?

how shall I live?

how shall I end this final sentence?

 

drawing on my face – smile (masking tape and marker pen on human head) © p ward 2019

 

© P Ward 2019


living within limits – an affirmation

(Thanks to Mat for a good conversation about politics, age and forward thinking)

 

while the universe may be perceived as infinite,

as our imagination does allow,

this world (upon which our existence depends) is not.

 

there is life

and there is death.

beginnings and ends.

 

throughout our history, especially in certain cultural geographies,

there has been a gradual shift towards arrogance as our understanding has increased.

with our own permission, in the names of progress, evolution and survival,

we have plundered, transferred and transformed the dynamic integrity of earth.

 

yet for us, as humans, omnipotence is not a possibility.

and while we may have broken it

and know how and why

we are not capable of mending it

beyond abstaining from activities and attitudes

that may perpetuate such demise and hopefully promote a self-sustaining recovery of sorts.

the universe is quite simply too vast, too diverse for us to knowingly manipulate or predict.

 

although we may want more,

whether that is peace or possessions or power,

there is little more to be had.

there is already more than enough.

we are simply regurgitating past revelations in a different guise,

re-appropriating wisdom again for our own selfish ends.

 

to be grateful

to be thankful

to appreciate what there is and what we have

to strive for less

to recognize our own limitations

and to live within them

while not profitable or fashionable

may provide and define a feasible space for creativity, for resourcefulness, for compassion and for joy…

 

but then, who am I to say?

 

trellisick trees; cot valley, cornwall © p ward 2018

levant mine, cornwall © p ward 2018

© P Ward 2019


ode to winter

Penwith 2019

 

In darkness, I think of you

And in my thoughts

I cover you with flowers,

A multitude of colours, shapes and scents,

And remove them one by one

To reveal you anew

In beauty and in wonder.

 

May your world be full of light and joy,

Inspiration, warmth and love

porthmeor farm, penwith © p ward 2019

peregrine; zennor church; godolphin house, cornwall © p ward 2018

© P Ward 2019


autumn winter, north devon 2014

with thanks this midwinter…

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see Nature at all.

But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is imagination itself.”

William Blake[i]

st james church arlington court; river yeo © p ward 2014st james church arlington court; river yeo © p ward 2014

from crow point to hartland 1 © p ward 2014from crow point to hartland 1 © p ward 2014

from crow point to hartland 2 © p ward 2014from crow point to hartland 2 © p ward 2014

st peter’s graveyard, ilfracombe © p ward 2014st peter’s graveyard, ilfracombe © p ward 2014

ilfracombe © p ward 2014ilfracombe © p ward 2014

net, ilfracombe; from woolcombe to putsborough © p ward 2014net, ilfracombe; from woolcombe to putsborough © p ward 2014

from woolcombe to lundy © p ward 2014from woolcombe to lundy © p ward 2014

© p ward 2014


[i] This quote from 17th Century visionary and mystic artist William Blake was taken from the January February 2015 issue of Resurgence/The Ecologist magazine (http://www.resurgence.org/) where I am fortunate enough to have a painting published to accompany an article by environmental activist Vandana Shiva – ‘We are Soil’.

 

 

 

 


Soil Culture Forum

Falmouth University, 2-5 July 2014

soil culture forum poster and logo; dirt dialogues poster for WCSS 2014 (p ward 2014)soil culture forum poster and logo; dirt dialogues poster for WCSS 2014 (p ward 2014)

The first major event of the Soil Culture[i] programme organized by CCANW[ii] and RANE[iii] at Falmouth University took place over the last week. The event brought together talks, workshops, social gatherings and exhibitions of artwork and posters from local and international artists, soil scientists and agriculturalists to celebrate and investigate how the arts may contribute to shifts in attitudes and understanding of a matter we take very much for granted – soil.

woodlane campus library display (with francesca owen) and work in group show, falmouth (p ward 2014)woodlane campus library display (with francesca owen) and work in group show, falmouth (p ward 2014)

painting with earth workshop at soil culture forum, falmouth (p ward 2014)painting with earth workshop at soil culture forum, falmouth (p ward 2014)

My own contribution included the forum logo, a small display of soil inspired work with Francesca Owen in the Woodlane Campus Library, a poster commissioned and printed for the 20th World Congress of Soil Science in South Korea by Alex Toland[iv], a Painting with Earth workshop and a number of art works in a pop-up exhibition on site. It was good to meet, hear and see the rich and varied work of those of like minds and inspirations, and especially to hear the no-nonsense common sense of Graham Harvey, author of one of my favourite books, The Carbon Fields[v]

“Why, she wondered, were Indian peasants being pushed into debt and penury by a system of agriculture that was supposed to bring prosperity to rural communities? And why did monocultures, which were intrinsically of low productivity, come to be accepted as highly productive though they required huge inputs of chemicals and fossil fuels, and then produced less food than traditional, diverse farming systems?” from The Carbon Fields by Graham Harvey, p.100

“Organic milk, for example, is a blend of the good and not so good.  Organic standards require that at least 60 per cent of the ratio must be in the form of grass and forage.  In terms of its nutrient content, milk produced to this minimum standard won’t compare in quality with milk of cows getting 80 per cent of their feed in the form of grazed pasture, organic or not.  And, as on conventional farms, milk produced to higher standards will be diluted with milk produced to the bare minimum standard.” from The Carbon Fields by Graham Harvey, p.136

a simple prayer for the earth, participatory painting with earth pigments, falmouth and westward ho! (p ward 2014)a simple prayer for the earth, participatory painting with earth pigments, falmouth and westward ho! (p ward 2014)

soil circle for soil culture forum, falmouth (p ward 2014)soil circle for soil culture forum, falmouth (p ward 2014)

It is always exciting how participation in such events can provide the space to create new work and to make and renew contacts. Let’s hope that the forum will lead to increased future awareness, projects and collaborations towards our need for changes in attitude and policy around issues of our care and relationship with soil, a living substance upon which our and all life depends. Also thank you to Daro Montag for all his hard work organizing and raising funds[vi] for this event.

© P Ward 2014


[i] http://soilculture.wordpress.com/

[ii] http://www.ccanw.co.uk/

[iii] http://rane.falmouth.ac.uk/

[iv] http://soilarts.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/dirt-dialogues-an-integrated-arts-program-at-the-20th-wcss/

[v]THE CARBON FIELDS – GRAHAM HARVEY (Bridgewater UK; GRASSROOTS; 2008)

[vi] Funding for the Forum was provided by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)