Saturday 1 May 2010

A Radical Rainbow

I want to do with you what Spring does with cherry trees
(Pablo Neruda - Every Day You Play from 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair)

Happy May Day everyone! I'm just back from the woods shimmering with new bluebells and there I found the pond which was covered in one of England's shyest and rarest flowers -the water violet. It was raining quietly and then the sun burst through the hazel and hornbeam trees All the birds were singing - blackbird, wren, thrush, robin. The bittern was booming in the marshes. Cows lowing in the village. Today the world is green, green, green and there are flowers everywhere.

White blossom:the lanes frothy with blackthorn and all the roads fringed with scurvy grass

The most revolutionary thing in a black and white world is to go for the rainbow - to bring in as many colours as you can into your house, as much beauty as you can into the hardness of the streets, as much harmony within the discord, as much laughter in a dark time.

On another May day I wrote a piece about radical flowers and I thought I would post it today. Because it's easy in Transition to think of the earth as all climate change and environmental disaster. Sometimes you need to get up at dawn and listen, take a look all around you. What's really happening in the neighbourhood . . .

Deep purple: pasque flower; True blue: emerging bluebells; sky blue: forget me not

Here's that extract . . .

"Venus, the earth’s mysterious sister, appears in the morning and evening, shining brilliantly in the sky during the month of May. You cannot look at her directly, as her surface is veiled by cloud. The veil hides a planet of volcanoes. No man or machine can land on her fiery body without being blown apart. In the painting Venus appears out of the sea, naked, balanced on the half-shell. You gaze into her pale vacant face and fall at her feet in adoration. But this is a manufactured Venus. The real Venus is active and fiery, not static and pale. When she comes naked into the world she brings revolution and May day parades, she does not bring consent. When you work with the wild flowers that emanate her presence in the month of May you know that artificial glamour has no power of itself. It is an object that can be worshsipped and possessed. Real beauty cannot be possessed. It can only be beheld. And only those whose hearts can match its fiery revolutionary nature can really know the love for which Venus is also famed.

I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees

Going green: green goddess; arum on the marsh track; unfurling horse chestnut bud

Beauty emanates the high frequency you feel in all living things. It arrives suddenly, unexpected; in the high intensity of a butterfly wing as it brushes past, in the startling presence of the quince outside the window, the perfume of a jasmine flower at dusk. It is almost oppressive that moment, unbearable as if this colour, this scent were pushing all the unkind things within your being out into the light. The frequency Venus brings has dramatic transformative powers. Sometimes you turn away from that kind of beauty. But if you hold that moment you undergo a kind of alchemy, as you shift from the base mindset of the world into the high frequency of the heart. This alchemy begins by pressurising the lowest elements down into their base material, forcing the beast out of the matter. Once Venus has forced everything ugly out of its hiding place, it can go about its radical make-over.

Sun yellow: gorse by the sea; dandelions in the field
Fire orange: centre of the poet's narcissus

This is why all empires are threatened by real beauty. The empire does not want to change, it wants to hold on to its power. It is terrified to experience its own ugliness, its lack of heart, its human vulnerablity. It will do anything to prevent discovery. It blocks beauty’s dangerous alchemy by mutating the natural forms of earth, by copying, grafting, manipulating its components, bringing them under the control and ownership of its corporations and then attracting the people’s attention to the tamed and tortured and hybridised. It does this by highlighting and praising the monsterish elements of life, by making the mind and emotional body dependent on end-of-the world dramas, by entertaining us with circuses and freakshows, by fostering envy and possessiveness of a “lifestyle” epitomised by grand and showy garden flowers, by young girls adorned in monster costumes. Meanwhile it does everything in its power to destroy the real thing. This is why wild flowers are mown down and poisoned, why native peoples who celebrate the beauty of the earth, such as the Maya, are so oppressed. Why the developed world appears ever more ugly and flaunts its power in ever increasing images of artifice. It is working hard to kill every shred of beauty from appearing.

While the planet, regardless, keeps pushing up more and more radical beauty each spring."

Keep weaving that rainbow!

Radical Red: geranium flower by the conservatory glass door; mossy stonecrop, the tiniest flower in England on heathland

(from 44/Lady’s Smock – 52 Flowers That Shook My World - A Radical Return to Earth)

No comments:

Post a Comment