Friday, September 25, 2009


Stop this hustling about. 

Take a small boat 
down the river. Fish
in the rain, cherish 
the green moss, love 
the waters that offer us 
their purity.

Love the waters.

     CB 2008

Monday, September 21, 2009


Spring is well and truly here; the morning light is eyeing the studio from a different angle. The studio's showing signs of approval. These trees are on the verge of green (they're the same trio that dropped leaves into my autumn frame some months ago.) The cycles keep cycling. 'Tis good, yes?

Yes. 'Tis good.

Speaking of cycles... I'm thinking of getting one.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Changing to stay the same

I'm chewing on a piece of non-fiction writing at the moment. It's reached the 'happy shambles' stage; hence my breaking away for a quick blog. 

The background research for this essay/memoir has taken me on a journey into worlds populated by such thrilling concepts as noosphere* and autopoiesis.** 

Amongst the books on my pile are Labyrinth by Peter Pesic, Ernst Haeckel's magnificent Art Forms from the Ocean (his exquisitely observed and rendered drawings - from 1862 - are enough to make a gal heady) and 'What is Life?' by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan.

 from Ernst Haeckel's Art Forms of the Ocean 

Whilst roaming the internet, I happened upon an inspirational site; Anita Bruce is a UK-based artist whose work is largely prompted by Haeckel's biology atlas; using fine natural thread, she creates complex colonies of plankton, coral and starfish. Thematically, this links in with a global movement of people currently working with textiles in related ways, almost all of them drawing our attention to pressing environmental questions.   

Going back to Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan's book, here are two brief excerpts to tantalize...

"So, what is life? Life is a material process, sifting and surfing over matter like a strange, slow wave. It is a controlled, artistic chaos, a set of chemical reactions so staggeringly complex that more than eighty million years ago it produced the mammalian brain that now, in human form, composes love letters and uses silicon computers to calculate the temperature of matter at the origin of the universe. Life, moreover, appears to be on the verge of perceiving for the first time its strange but true place in an inexorably evolving cosmos..."


"... So, what is life? Life is evolutionary exuberance; it is what happens when expanding populations of sensing, active organisms knock up against each other and work things out. Life is animals at play. It is a marvel of inventions for cooling and warming, collecting and dispersing, eating and evading, wooing and deceiving. Life is awareness and responsiveness; it is consciousness and even self-consciousness. Life, historical contingency and wily curiosity, is the flapping fin and soaring wing of animal ingenuity, the avant-garde of the connected biosphere epitomized by Kingdom Animalia... "

Expansive, optimistic, boundary-pushing stuff. 


For Teilhard, the noosphere is best described as a sort of 'collective consciousness' of human-beings. It emerges through and is constituted by the interaction of human minds. The noosphere has grown in step with the organization of the human mass in relation to itself as it populates the earth. As mankind organizes itself in more complex social networks, the higher the noosphere will grow in awareness. This is an extension of Teilhard's Law of Complexity/Consciousness, the law describing the nature of evolution in the universe. Teilhard argued that the noosphere is growing towards an even greater integration and unification, culminating in the Omega point, which he saw as the goal of history. The goal of history, then, is an apex of thought/consciousness. 

** the essence of which means 'changing to stay the same.' Autopoiesis is a term that applies as much to the single cell as to the biosphere. Applied to species, it leads to evolution.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Still time

It is with gratitude (and, yes, a little reluctance) that I leave Kenepuru Sound and begin the journey home...


See what happens when water and air lie perfectly still, the one beside the other. It's as if in those rare moments of surrender and repose, some greater spirit is free to rise up between them - even when they find themselves unexpectedly tipped onto their heads... 

Friday, September 04, 2009

Froth and other fancies

I received an email this morning to say that the Questions of Balance interview that was broadcast last Saturday morning has just been made available as a podcast - here's a link to the Plains FM website, and this one will take you directly to the interview (with Canterbury writer, Helen Lowe.). 

I'm still in the Sounds - what a heavenly time this has been. I will be reluctant to leave when the time comes... such terrific people, and being so close to water for these unhurried days has been deeply replenishing. I've found myself coming face-to-face with a few tricky thoughts, wonderings, realizations and imaginings during this time - some to do with the old, some with the new. And I've been struck (initially 'down') by the crazy back-to-backness that's characterized my life in recent times. Mind you, it's not just 'recent times' - this has been the pattern for a fairly prolonged time, despite my aspirations to shape things differently. 

Being here has reinforced what I've always held true but have found challenging to implement. A healthy life is underpinned by rhythms not routines, by mindfulness not busyness. By space, not clutter. And, of course there's lots more to say on this subject, but for now, I'll keep it plain. 

Here are some of the pics I've taken on my walks around the Kenepuru Sound coastline... there have been times when nature has had me laughing out loud. Such ebullience. Such in-your-face-humour and sauciness (a word my marvelous maternal grandmother Gladys would use)...
(don't you love the way this word sounds as it tastes? I'm thinking here of the froth on the head of a good guinness)  

The collaborative artistry of water, wood and huhu grubs (they can't help themselves, can they?)

A solitary jelly-fish appreciates the local rock art. 

Is it just me, or are these young pines giving the sky the finger (Pardon?!)?

Ponga cellos hide their bellies but expose their elegant necks high above the forest canopy - what sounds they make when played by hail, wind, rain...

A pair of metal birds converse on the pier whilst waiting for a sign it's okay to take off.  

Tuesday, September 01, 2009