What it Means to be Wild and Free
The Great Door Opens
"As you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens..." - Stephen Graham (1926)
Stephen Graham spent his life travelling the world trying to make sense of it, and he found his God in the beauty of the landscape and the simplicity of ordinary people. The world for him was something mysterious and wonderful.
Graham wrote this book in 1926 and 'Tramping' had a different connotation back then to what we think of now. Today the book would probably be called The Gentle Art of Walking.
And it is a gentle art; know how to walk and you know how to live. Know how to meet your fellow wanderer, and know how to let the beauty of nature wash over you.
The adventure is not the getting there, it's the 'on-the-way'. It is not the expected, it is the surprise.
Walking is an approach: to nature, to humankind, to beauty, to life itself.
This Morning Walk
Elizabeth DeLana has taken a walk every morning for over eight years and it has changed her life...
"I started walking, every morning over 8 years ago and haven’t stopped. Walking, for me, has been my way back to myself, a practice that brings me home.
This radically simple act, a morning walk, has become a daily ritual that has transformed my life. It began with a conscious decision to get outside, to be in all weather, under all the stars, next to all the birds - to return to the essentials. Outdoors is where I find ideas, comfort, awe, creativity, wisdom, community - all of the elements that remind me of who I am, beyond titles and labels.
This is a small everyday ritual that has changed my life. I have walked the circumference of the earth and plan to keep on going..." - Elizabeth DeLana
A video worth watching...
The Great Wave of His Life
Katsushika Hokusai, known simply as Hokusai, was a Japanese artist and printmaker of the Edo period. Hokusai is best known for the woodblock print series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji which includes the internationally iconic print The Great Wave off Kanagawa.
Born in Edo (modern Tokyo) in 1760, the influential artist and printmaker led a life that was both intensely productive and undeniably eccentric. He died in 1849 at the age of 89.
Hokusai showed early talent for art when six years old. At 19, he joined the studio of ukiyo-e artist Katsukawa Shunshō and embarked on what would become a seven-decade-long career in art.
In that time he relocated 93 times! He did not like cleaning his studio and when it became unbearably dirty he simply moved out. Also, although changing one’s name was customary among Japanese artists at this time, Hokusai took the practice even further with a new name roughly each decade.
Together with his numerous informal pseudonyms, he had more than 30 names in total. His tombstone bears his final name, Gakyo Rojin Manji, which translates to 'Old Man Mad about Painting'.
Hokusai was one of the 19th century’s leading designers of paper lanterns, three-dimensional cut-out dioramas, and board games. He also illustrated countless books of poetry and fiction, and even published his own how-to manuals for aspiring artists.
Although Hokusai was prosperous in middle age, a series of setbacks - intermittent paralysis, the death of his second wife, and serious misconduct by his wayward grandson - left him in financial straits in his later years.
In response, the elderly artist funnelled his energy into his work, and at the age of 70 he began his most famous work, Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji in 1830.
Hokusai was intensely productive, rising with the sun and painting late into the night. Although a fire in his studio destroyed much of his work in 1839, he is thought to have produced some 30,000 paintings, sketches, woodblock prints, and picture books in total.
When in his early seventies he said, "From the age of six I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was fifty I had published a universe of designs. But all I have done before the age of seventy is not worth bothering with. At seventy-five I'll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am eighty you will see real progress. At ninety I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At one hundred, I shall be a marvellous artist. At 110, everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before."
His last words - when he was 89 - were said to have been,
"If heaven had granted me five more years, I could have become a real painter."
What it Means to be Wild and Free
This is probably my favourite nature book ever, which is saying a lot because I've read widely on the subject and it's a topic I care about.
It's called Deep Country, by Neil Ansell.
The book is Neil's account of five years spent alone in a hillside cottage in Wales. A story of what it means to live in a place so remote that you may not see another soul for weeks on end. And it is the story of the hidden places that he came to call his own, and the wild creatures (especially birds) that became his community.
Neil said, "We take pleasure from watching birds partly because they are beautiful, but the birds that we see in our minds are more than just feather and bone, their appeal is not simply aesthetic. We watch them because of what they tell us about ourselves, and about our sense of what it means to be wild and free."
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in immersing themselves in nature and being free from the system.
Tarot Card: The Moon
Now is a powerful time to work with your unconscious. A time to listen to your dreams.. A time of reflection, mood swings, psychic experiences, and creative inspirations.
The moon gives no light of its own, and it reflects the sun’s light. Whenever something is reflected it is distorted, more difficult to understand. Things may not be as they seem. Take it one step at a time and do not make fear-based decisions.
You are working with your unconscious here, which is very powerful, but you must bring that wisdom through into the physical world.
All great achievements must start with the internal vision of what you wish to achieve. Paul F Case said, "Accomplishment is made possible by the exercise of imagination, for imagination is what makes clear and definite our desires and aspirations. Mental images are the patterns, which we pass into subconscious, the builder of the body and the controller of all functions.”
Most of the world is bound by rigid structures to give them a false sense of security or importance, but you must walk past - through the twin pillars - and on to the path.
It is a clear path, but the terrain is rough and you will find yourself in a valley with no clear view, walking hard up hill, and at times running so fast you will find it difficult to stop. A bit like life.
The Moon reminds us to keep our wish in mind and to power through the pitfalls and the minor defeats. Yes you may be experiencing fears and confusion, but stay focused and keep moving towards your goal.
*** after the night a new day will dawn ***
Have yourself a wild and beautiful week,
P.S. I would love to hear from you. Your feedback - good or bad is always appreciated. Maybe you would like to ask me a question, point me in the direction of an interesting web link, or just want to say hello!
If you are a creative, I would love to see your work - just give me a web link to your creations.