Thursday 22 December 2011

Sun, sun, sun here it comes!

Dawn in the Garden. Dead sunflower faces the sunrise, toward the sea down by the compost heap. Ghosts of hogweed and cosmos, wild carrot in threadbare nests, frost-bitten leaves - all the old forms are breaking down, providing mulch for new life.

Out in the lane the jackdaws are flying out to the fields, owls still hooting. Ivy berries now ripe in the bare hedges. A waning moon in the sky. We set out to sit under our neighbourhood oak and wait for the turn . . .

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes! Rising above the oaks and the barley fields on a peerless morning, fresh breeze, curlews calling.

Breaking down old forms Thinking about John's theme for the week on the way home and getting an idea (notice jumping in air!).

Solstice is the moment you let go of what you don't need in order to go forward into the lightness and clarity of the new solar year. Providing mulch from our earthtime and blowing on those sparks for the future all around us.

Pull to climax In the natural world there is a movement known as “the pull to climax”, a condition in which natural systems become complex and symbiotic, interweaving with one another in a web of extrordinary intricacy. The poet and activist, Gary Synder once wrote that in a climax situation, such as a mature oak or rainforest, a high percentage of the energy is not gleaned from the living biomass, but from the recycling of dead matter – dead trees and animals – that lie on the forest floor. This “detritus energy” is liberated from these dead forms by the transformative actions of fungi and insects.

“As climax forest is to biome, and fungus is to the recycling of energy, so ‘enlightened mind’ is to daily ego mind, and art to the recycling of neglected inner potential.”

Transforming old thoughts and feelings, composting our past becomes the life-energy that fuels our present lives. Within the personal life and within the collective, the individual and the creative writer, act like mushrooms. We liberate energy from what is dead and give energy to the living, and thus become symbionts rather than parasites within the collective consciousness of the earth.

Composting the past If you don't let go you don't get any compost for the future, or any fuel. We've been living on borrowed energy for aeons, now we have to find our own. Not just fossil fuel but life force for ourselves. For that we need to key into the living systems, learn to break stuff down - possessions, habits, unnecessary desires - in order to provide ourselves with energy and vigour for the big year ahead. We need to throw new light onto our old organisational structures, into our social and political institutions and question everything.

Are all those antiquated traditions and costumes, those hostile and haughty shows necessary? Are they impeding new ways of doing things? Are they dampening down those collective sparks we see in Transition, in Occupy, in all the dynamic dialogues and ideas that are going on as we move towards 2012? Get some clues from those mushrooms! Get in touch with the ants! Happy Solstice everyone!

Quote from Gary Synder in a talk based on his essay, Poetry, Community and Climax. Photos of moon, sun, tree, flower and fly agaric by CDC and Mark Watson. Ants, Angels and Human Nature, from the blog, Peak Oil Blues by Kathy McMahon.


  1. Exactly what I was looking for, Charlotte - but I do think you could have jumped somewhat higher!

  2. . . .don't like to lose contact with the planet for too long John! All the best from the (under) ground crew, Charlotte