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

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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)


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


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