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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Witches' trees

I suggested that these trees look like monsters, but the mention of that reminds me of the waking dream I had of a tree holding me in her roots and telling me that I was home, and how comforting that felt. To be earthbound. To belong to this planet.

That feeling of oneness makes me think of indigenous belief systems - I am listening to a biography of Richard Nelson who spent many years with Inuit people and absorbed their teachings. He felt that their respect for and sense of connection with the natural world provided the only possible ideology that would enable us to survive.

As Hank Lentfer writes (see the link above):

The stories of separation that got us into our current mess are not the stories that will get us out. We need stories that illuminate the truth of our connections – to each other and to this precious blue planet. We need to reject narratives of division. We need storytellers who blur boundaries, expand empathy, and stretch our capacity for caring.

This oneness concept also makes me think of the fiction book I am reading - the very wonderful Everything the Light Touches by Janice Pariat. One of the characters is introduced to the scientific revolution that Goethe wished to inspire.

Basically, the method of his science is, instead of classification and labeling and dissecting and reducing, one of becoming... So the first stage is to recognise what we as observers are bringing to the inquiry - our prejudices and impressions, our epistemology and sensorium. When we come upon something it is less that we choose what to study, but that we are struck by it. Goethe called it “being spoken to” by the thing. Like I felt with the trees and the crows and the worms.

Next we consider what is revealed to us by our senses - the sight, smell, taste, sound and touch. But with as little personal judgment and evaluation as possible. We hold back our thoughts so that the phenomena can speak for themselves.

The next stage is really demanding - in that we have a sort of sensorial fantasy... as if seeing this plant or animal throughout all the stages of its life. We see it as a process, a changing, evolving phenomena always as a sequence of forms not a static dead thing.

And then, the final stage. I will quote from Pariat's novel:

Then a move toward “seeing in beholding,” or an attempt to still or quieten active perception to allow the thing to express itself through the observer.

“To make space for it to be articulated in its own way,” added Lulu, though she looked doubtful that Evie was following any of this.

Ollie nodded. “Yes, and this is usually expressed in emotional language, poetry, painting, or other art forms.”

If the first stage used perception to see form, the second imagination to perceive its mutability, the third inspiration to reveal the gesture, the final process—being one with the object—called for intuition to combine and move beyond the previous stages.

I find this beautiful. And inspiring. It sits well with me. It sits so well with me.

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3 commentaires

30 janv. 2023

p.s. I also read more about the life of Richard Nelson from your links and how he lived it. And your photos are exquisite. Thanks for this post x


30 janv. 2023

That book Everything the Light Touches sounds REALLY good (I read the review). I've put it on my Kobo wish list.

30 janv. 2023
En réponse à

It's wonderful!!!! Really really good!

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