Monthly Archives: October 2017

Ghoulish

via Daily Prompt: Ghoulish

When I was around nine I remember two comedy shows – The Munsters and, The Addams Family. I just loved the mock goulisness. But it led to Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula, and then the movies. Who could forget Bela Lugosi in the 1931 film? But I think the classic would have to be, for me, Christopher Lee in the Hammer Film series, beginning in 1958 with Dracula. Lee was the archetypal ghoul, whose blood staianed fangs fired the imagination.

Some time ago when we were in Katherine Gorge we were treated to some live ghouls, Little Red Flying Foxes, or bats roosting in the Eucalypts. These were no vampires, rather just passive creatures resting in the trees, like fruit hanging from the branches. The ghoulishness of these bats is limited to the faeces they drop, and the fact that they can split a tree by their sheer weight in numbers.

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Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, Country, nature

Fluff

via Daily Prompt: Fluff

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I fluffed it again, Another gaffe with the mobile phone camera. Obviously forgot to make sure I’d exited the camera app. and off it went. And yet, there it is, an abstract piece, so maybe not a gaffe afterall.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Robin Wall Kimmerer

Every now and then I encounter a writer who is completely refreshing, challenging, authentic and mindful.

Robin Wall Kimmerer is one such writer. Fellow blogger Carol A. Hand (https://carolahand.wordpress.com) recommended Kimmerer’s 2013 work “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants.”

It is a wonderful journey into a cultural and ecological life. Kimmerer speaks passionately about returning to the culture of her ancestors, being born a plant biologist, yet finding a way to her people’s language – Potawatomi and Anishinaabe – which are a reflection of the land and the people, and how that knowing was a way to wholeness and understanding which science alone could not provide.

Kimmerer advocates for the land, in particular, for plants, their relational and physical presence, and their place in the ecosystems we too inhabit and benefit from. Plants are beings, not “its” or objects, and deserve our attention, reciprocity, and care. Kimmerer speaks about animacy, how the language of sentience changes how we experience plants, and, ergo, that when we see and experience plants as beings, it changes our relationship to plants, to nature. Thus we value our neighbours.

Kimmerer is clearly in sync with Deep Ecology (which also has antecedents in Process Philosophy and Theology) and the desire to change how we see and work with nature. For Kimmerer, the journey to valuing plants more than scientifically has come through reconnecting with her indigenous roots, and in particular her people’s language, and their relational understanding of nature.

It is a book of biography, science, and life, but predominantly it is a book of indigenous wisdom we most urgently need for all peoples, and it is a book that encourages us to take our own paths to positive relationships with nature. Kimmerer left me with a heartfelt understanding that indigenous cultures had a reverence for nature that would have prevented the destruction caused by the objective consumption model.

Another access point to get to Kimmerer is a podcast at ‘On Being’ with Krista Tippett at https://onbeing.org (also found at iTunes podcast subscription). It will enlighten and refresh.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Gratitude

via Daily Prompt: Gratitude

Martin Seligman, sometimes referred to as the ‘father of positive psychology’ is well known for his work on Learned Helplessness and working with soldiers who have PTSD. At the core of his work is a basic principle: knowing and experiencing what it is that makes you happy is the first step in achieving it. Seligman and others have been advocates for the benefits of gratitude in changing stress, anxiety, relationship problems, and more. It’s a rewiring of the brain that is so simple and yet so profound.

But going further back, the spiritual greats like Meister Eckhart, St. Paul, Buddha, all speak of the centrality of gratitude for a fulfilling life. Again there is a basic principle, that once we realise we have life, that we have enough, that we are good enough, there is a sense of contentment and fulfilment in a spirtual sense that reorders our perspective on life. Hence the joy in poverty for St. Francis who surendered great wealth so that he could be free to serve the poor and the outcast.

I have a collection of quotes that I draw from periodically, and these are some of my favourites on gratitude:

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” (Marcel Proust)

“In a normal life we hardly realize how much more we receive than we give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Letters and Papers from Prison)

“Gratitude unlocks the fulness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” (Melodie Beattie)

I can’t say I’m great at doing it, but more often than not I am grateful for much and try to express it. I try to recollect each day the good of it, no matter how small to the mind’s eye (yet huge to the heart), like a single blossom, an eagle in flight, a drop of water on a blade of grass have been a few. I think gratitude does change me, makes me more mindful, less greedy, more aware, less worried. For me the glass is always a gift no matter the level of fluid in it. Imagine a world of gratitude!

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Prefer

via Daily Prompt: Prefer

I prefer this: (Photos mine: A breakaway before Jindalee, and a section of Jarrah Loop Walks, Bridgetown).

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To this: (Photo from Wiki Commons: Anshan City skyline)

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I know people need to live and work, but city living, though convenient for some things, is not for me. Give me the bush any day. I rejoice in the small house movement, and I rejoice in the rooftop gardens, vertical gardens, community gardens, but I still prefer the bush to the city. I wonder that we could have thought urban living differently if only we had valued nature above productivity and conquest.

I find peace and contentment in the bush, it’s where I feel most whole, but I feel busy and fragmented in the city. My experience of the bush is relational, I feel a part of it, and I know my dependence on it, I value the life of the bush which nurtures me, I don’t get that from the city.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, Country, life, nature

Orange Revolution

via Daily Prompt: Orange

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Nothing much happens here, we might wake up to find the reigning political party have dumped the prime minister (Rudd-Gillard-Rudd, or Abbott-Turnbull) or that we’ve been signed up for yet another military venture supporting our allies. I still remember the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, we avidly listened to the radio every night, half expecting history to be made with a people’s uprising throughout China. Which was ironic, because it was already called The People’s Republic of China. The protest was bold and powerful, and even though there was no popular uprising, it sent a message to the world.

But the one that sticks in my mind is the one I know the least about. The Orange Revolution in the Ukraine in 2004. I know that the protests resulted from reports of fraud in the 2004 presidential election between candidates Viktor Yushchenko and Viktor Yanukovych.  Yanukovych was declared winner, but fraud became evident. Daily protests and a general strike forced the authorities to offer a second round of voting. After which the clear winner was Yushchenko. What I remember of it was the colour, the protestors wore orange, or carried orange flags and baloons, and hence it became known as the Orange revolution. Notably, it was a peaceful revolution (despite the fact that the president had attempted to engage the army in reigning in the protestors, which the army refused to do). Of course there’s a lot more to it than that, the histories of Russia, Poland and Ukraine are in the mix of this, the preceding years of government, public attitudes, the division between west and east (more pro-Russian) Ukraine, the murder of Georgiy Gongadze – a vocal anti-corruption journalist, and more. It was an amazing moment in time.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Surreal

via Daily Prompt: Surreal

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I always think of art, and in particular Salvador Dali, when I see the word surreal. The picture is Dali’s ‘The Persistence of Memory’ 1931 (found via Bing images) a painting of soft, melting pocket watches. Dali stated that his worls were “hand painted dream photographs.” It is arguably one of his most famous works. With surrealistic works, as with all abstract work, it is really up to the viewer to venture an interpretation. Dali never made his interpretation public. The consensus so far is that it is about decay and deterioration of time. There is light and dark symbolism as well as the theme of hard and soft. What could be more surreal? Well, sometimes my life is a little surreal.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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