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Wisdom from Trees

I’ve never been spoken to by a tree before or perhaps, more accurately, I’d never paid attention sufficiently to hear what they were saying! But when I deliberately and consciously direct my awareness, and let go of my ideas about how difficult it’s going to be, I find there’s good conversation to be had, and in this case some useful insights.

I’ve never been spoken to by a tree before or perhaps, more accurately, I’d never paid attention sufficiently to hear what they were saying! But when I deliberately and consciously direct my awareness, and let go of my ideas about how difficult it’s going to be, I find there’s good conversation to be had, and in this case some useful insights which I’ve accepted, embraced and incorporated into my way of working.

The following is an extract from my journal, written as soon as I returned home from this walk. What makes it ‘real’ for me is that there are things here I’d never thought of; I couldn’t have sat down and written this myself – these are not my ideas, not at all the way I looked at things before these conversations.

[dropcap1]I[/dropcap1] ventured out to journey in, heading towards the Cot Valley, its cliffs and beaches, but nature, it seems, had other ideas. I was stopped along the way by the sight of a new adventure. A cave, half glimpsed among the trees beside the road. I ventured in, drawn by the energy of the place and found a path, little trodden, but clear to my sense of discovering.

Wise plantThe cave turned out not to be a cave but a trick of the light and shadow, but it acted as a sign that pointed to the cave that was indeed right next to it. A cave, man-made perhaps, its purpose, if so crafted, lost to time, yet it fitted my needs perfectly and so, perhaps, this was, and is, its purpose. A shelter from the elements, yet intimately connected in its space, it welcomed me and invited me in to stop and sit a while.

Once settled on the dry and feeling connected to the energy of the place I turned my awareness to my physical surroundings. I noticed a small, leafy plant growing on the floor of the cave in front of me. The round leaves looked like they might be more at home on water, yet clearly it was quite at home this far from the passing stream. I thanked the plant for letting its spirit enter my awareness and started to imagine what it must be like to be this plant. The plant liked to spread; it rooted down into the earth and grew up into the light but, above all, it spread. It said that there was strength in breadth, not only in depth, but also in the width, that to spread widely increased the chances of finding new opportunities, new life, new avenues and areas to explore and grow into.

I asked how I should structure my work and play according to this philosophy and the plant said to send out shoots, to tentatively explore new possibilities to see if they worked for me. If the new ground was good then I should put down some roots to ground my energy there and cultivate this new knowledge, letting it flourish and blossom into something strong and vibrant. If the new ground was not to my liking then I could simply withdraw my attention from it and let it whither away without affecting my core. If the new growth took hold then it would become integrated and part of who and what I was in time, and would add to my strength.

I thanked the plant for its wisdom and turned my attention to a tree* growing outside the mouth of the cave. I imagined what it would be like to be the tree and felt roots growing deep, down into the nourishing earth, but also spreading wide, seeking out new opportunities. I felt myself growing tall and strong, reaching upward, ever upward, towards the light. It was important, the tree said, to always be reaching, not necessarily to be the tallest, but always to be reaching. To reach the light, to see the light, it was necessary to be seen.

Autumn tree against cloudsI asked the tree how I should work and it said that I should let there be seasons. The seasons would be there anyway, so I should embrace them and work with them as trees did; even the evergreens worked with the seasons, it’s just that the others make it more obvious that they are following a cycle of growth, celebration, harvest, letting go, regathering and rejuvenation for new growth.

The tree said that I should follow a similar pattern, that it was, in fact, already there and that I should embrace it rather than battling against it. There would be periods of learning, working inwardly, gathering of resources, contemplating and working things out. Then there would be a time of new growth, of bring this new work out into the world, reaching upward to allow it to be seen. Then, when it is seen, I also receive the light of recognition; this is the celebration and harvest. Then follows a time of letting go of what no longer is needed or useful, in time for a return inward for the repeating of the cycle. I thanked the tree for this wisdom and prepared for my journey home.

 

* as you may have guessed, I’m no botanist! I have little interest in labeling, I simply see, and allow myself to be touched by, the beauty of these and all natural, living things.
Tree. Plant. Beautiful. I like simplicity too.

 

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The Journey Home

There is a way. There is a journey to be taken. There are many paths but only one way. There are many signs that point to the way but you must follow your own path. Many will help you along the way but none will make you go. You must decide. You must choose. There are many roads, some less traveled, some better defined – you must…

The Journey HomeThere is a way. There is a journey to be taken. There are many paths but only one way. There are many signs that point to the way but you must follow your own path. Many will help you along the way but none will make you go. You must decide. You must choose. There are many roads, some less traveled, some better defined – you must choose your own.

When you start to see the way you may recognise it for what it is and you may not. Follow it anyway. There are no wrong turns along the way, all paths, all obstacles, all the twists and turns, mires and mountains, all have their purpose. All paths lead to the way. You may stop, you may get stuck, you may not know which way to turn. Turn anyway. You will always come back to the way.

Some will see the way clearly, some will talk of it, others will deny its existence, but all will find the way eventually. There is only one way. There is only the way. You may choose to follow the way, you may wait. No one can tell you when, you will know when. The way is always there for you when you choose to look.

The way may look too difficult, too arduous, too distant. You may be looking in the wrong direction. The way is here, it is now, in this moment, in this moment. When would now be a good time to look for the way? There is no other time, there is no other way. It is not too late. It is not too early. It is now. It is here.

Where are you? You are here, where else would you be? What time is it? It is now, what other time could it be? When would now be a good time to begin? When would here be a good place to start?

Welcome home, you are already here.

 

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Oscillating

Zebra are an intersting anomaly. They are, of course, pure white but, being four dimensional beings, they appear only partially in our three dimensional version of reality, the ‘missing’ bits showing up as black. The black is actually the void of emptiness, nothingness between the dimensions. A place so empty that…

[dropcap1]P[/dropcap1]ossibly a possum, and one of dubious lineage at that. Elephants do not, of course, need personal organisers due to their famously long memories. The memory capacity of the elephant can easily be explained thus; the brain is, in common parlance, often referred to as ‘grey matter’. Elephants are indisputably grey and definitely matter. Elephants matter from an ecological standpoint, and are also very important to artists. If elephants didn’t use so much of it, there would be far too much grey floating around in the world and not enough room for the other colours, so art would be monotonous.

Indeed, elephants matter so much that, with all that matter in one place, they cause some interesting gravitational effects. It is quite common to see flies, mosquitoes and even the occasional small bird circling an elephant as, venturing too close, they have become trapped in its gravity well and are doomed to orbit there forever and ever and ever and ever unless a zebra shows up*.

Zebra faceZebra are an intersting anomaly. They are, of course, pure white but, being four dimensional beings, they appear only partially in our three dimensional version of reality, the ‘missing’ bits showing up as black. The black is actually the void of emptiness, nothingness between the dimensions. A place so empty that not even nothing exists there. A place where there is no place at a time when there is no time. Nothing. No thing. Not even nothing, just the endless, beginningless waves of infinite possibilities, gently oscillating.

* The disturbance of the space/time continuum caused by a passing zebra is often enough to disrupt an elephant’s gravity field sufficiently to throw its living moons out of orbit. Many will trace parabolic trajectories, falling to earth at some point behind the zebra, frequently landing in a pile of dung. Such is life.

 

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Why WildBits?

As with much of what I do, it’s a play on words and images, born of the love of language and a lifelong passion of tinkering with all things visual. Wild, as in life, Wild as in free, unfettered, uncensored and Wild as in unashamedly joyful. Bits as in pieces and Bits as in Bytes and pixels. A bit of this and a bit of that.

As with much of what I do, it’s a play on words and images, born of the love of language and a lifelong passion of tinkering with all things visual.

Wild, as in life, Wild as in free, unfettered, uncensored and Wild as in unashamedly joyful.

Bits as in pieces and Bits as in Bytes and pixels. A bit of this and a bit of that.
compassed - a collection of bits and pieces

And why now?

A willingness to be seen I guess, and a desire to share what I do with a lot more people – like you! And besides, I’ve owned this domain for a year or three, always meaning to do something with it, and thought it was about time really. It was once to be home to my graphic and web design business, but I’ve realised I don’t want a design business any more. I love to design, but I have other things I want to do that bring me far more joy.

And I’ve always taken photographs and produced bits of arty, designery loveliness, and the occasional writing – and mostly about three people get to see this stuff; I thought it was time I shared a bit more! So here it all is – well not all of it yet, it’ll be updated regularly, the pictures especially – and hopefully there might be something here to brighten your day.

So have a browse around and if you find something you like then please feel free to use it or share it in whatever way seems joyful  – Pin it, Share it, Blog it or just print it and stick it on the fridge! If you’re wanting to use the images for something commercial please check out the notes on the Something page, other than that, pretty much anything goes!

If in doubt, or you have requests, you can always email me – otherwise, just EnJOY!

~ IanB

 

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Petals

It was as a soft spring day. One of those days, early in the season when everything seems fresh and new, ready to burst into abundant, colourful life. The sea spoke quietly at the end of the valley, sifting the sand of its memories and offering up…

[dropcap1]I[/dropcap1]t was as a soft spring day. One of those days, early in the season when everything seems fresh and new, ready to burst into abundant, colourful life. The sea spoke quietly at the end of the valley, sifting the sand of its memories and offering up its lyrics and laments, and snatches of melody for those who cared to listen.

Birds circled high above the sea cliffs, climbing ever higher, searching for that which would take them higher still as if, in their ascending, they could transcend this world and soar on thermals of thought, currents of consciousness, off into the light.

Deep beneath the ocean’s blue, creatures swam and slithered and crawled. Sometimes they looked up and observed the disturbance on the edge of their realm. They saw the waves but did not follow them, felt the swell but were unmoved.

In a meadow, beyond the valley, a flower bloomed. Unusually for one so early in the year, its petals were red.

 

Red poppy
— Inspired by the writing prompt ‘red’ from the now sadly defunct StudioThirty+

 

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Trouble

Elephants are relevant but irreverent, have you ever seen one in a dog collar? Yes, elephants are both irreverent and irreverend. Sadly, however, irreverend is not a word…

[dropcap1]F[/dropcap1]lumadiddle and edelweiss are words. Larooeope is not yet a word. Moonshine is flumadiddle, or whiskey. Whiskey from an old tin can? Bellowhead. None of these are relevant. Elephants are relevant but irreverent, have you ever seen one in a dog collar? Yes, elephants are both irreverent and irreverend. Sadly, however, irreverend is not a word. Artichokes will be what they are until they are something else. Would a painter in an ill-fitting dog collar be an artichoke? No, that would clearly be illegal. In the grand scheme of things, elephants are more important than artists and whiskey due to their indisputable greyness, which infuses their very being in much the same way that the smell of tuna finds its way into your envelopes when you inadvertently leave them in the airing cupboard together.

ElephantA bomay duck will never swim upstream but will, perversely*, fly north in winter in a desperate bid to escape the onslaught of the terrible popadum storms of the Uttar Pradesh region. High, high, high they fly, way above the himalayas and on into Mongolia where they overwinter, feasting on marigolds and dry crusts that they earn by doing the washing up in the local deli. Ducks are rarely seen outside of delis due to the preponderance of bears in the streets and squares of Ulan Batar. The fact that bombay duck is a fish is irrelevant. If it was lunchtime it would be worried, but only because it hadn’t finished the washing up yet and it didn’t want to get the elephant into trouble.

* because Uttar Pradesh is north of Bombay,** so they fly directly into the storms. If they stayed in Bombay they would avoid them altogether, silly ducks.

** now known as Mumbai***

*** as opposed to Mumbye, which could be

  1. wishing your mother farewell
  2. enquiring as to whether one’s mother was in the vicinity****

**** but only when phrased as a question and spoken with an affected Welsh accent

Bombay Bicycle Club is another red herring, but that’s a whole different kettle of ball games.*****

***** NO BALL GAMES

 

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Red

Ah, the multifarious joys of the English language and the abuse thereof. As a well bred, well read and prolifically literate Englishman, I consider it my birthright to write, right, wright and rite. Pedants control yourselves, please, I’ve only just started!

This post will not be widely red, rather it will adopt a subtle, ochre hue (or, if you’re feeling uncharitable, a jaundiced tinge). The funny thing about hues is their tendency to cry at the slightest provocation, as opposed to Hugh, who was a member of the Borg collective, although defective in their terms. The Borg would certainly have termed this post ‘jaundiced’. Assimilation is not synonymous with charity.

Ah, the multifarious joys of the English language and the abuse thereof. As a well bred, well read and prolifically literate Englishman, I consider it my birthright to write, right, wright and rite. Pedants control yourselves, please, I’ve only just started! And as the likelihood of this post being widely, or even fully, read declines line by line, I feel inclined to ramp things up a little.

Remembering a time when I rite right to the lake, paddled my coracle to see the oracle, rowed with him and then rowed back, having stolen his stole as well as his rowing boat. I rode back up the road on a hoarse horse and went to the tack shop, but they had no tacks, only an inexplicably large supply of pears. I asked for a pair, they said I could have a gross. I didn’t want to eat that many as I might become gross, which would be really gross. I started to grouse but they didn’t deal in gallinaceous birds either.

A Chimp in a fezI ponied up for a new pony and rode the bay down to the bay, a low bough causing me to bow low in avoidance. I wanted to pick up some whey on the way as long as it didn’t weigh too much, they measured some out and the weight was worth the wait.

When I reached the shore I was sure I would see the sea, but it was nowhere to be seen. The scene was completed as I was passed by a chimpanzee, on a tricycle, wearing a fez which was, predictably, red.

Bored now!
IanB

— Inspired by the writing prompt ‘red’ from the now sadly defunct StudioThirty+

 

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