It is the Autumn equinox and I'm just back from a camping trip in the glorious Pacific Northwest of the United State and Canada, full of breathtaking vistas, many tragically clouded by smoke from forest fires started by mindless people unaware of their impact on the world. It was a constant reminder of both the resiliency and epic strength of nature. It was such a joy to see thousand years old trees, boulders full of sleepy sea lions, whales on their yearly migration, birds flocking, nesting, flying, feeding; cute bunnies and chipmunks, flowers, shrubs and wild, worn seacoasts with craggy lighthouses. We hiked, sketched, photographed, looked, listened, biked and watched as the road stretched out endlessly before us. The smoke was somewhat contained, though most noticeable around the Crater Lake and Mt. Hood areas, reminding us that we have the capacity to destroy equal to our capacity to steward our land. Would we ever learn the difference?
I have been writing and teaching about doing Eco-Art Therapy or 'Land Art"(known also as a branch of trans-personal psychology) for about 4 years. It's a way of being in nature, using all of our senses, and selecting 'natural' materials to construct artwork that melds into the environment.
This work is directly drawn from the artist Andy Goldsworthy who has created monumental temporal works on an international basis. The idea here is that Nature is a creative and healing 'vessel' within which we can individually and collectively collaborate and create meaning, bringing us closer to some elemental force of 'life'. By getting our 'hands dirty', ie-playing in the muck or mud, we are letting go of inner gravity or seriousness, allowing ourselves to observe and follow the 'plan' that unconsciously evolves.It's a lesson we can apply to our lives, for sure.
Here is something you can do today, tomorrow or some time you can find:
1. Take a walk anywhere, around the block, into a park or woods, by a stream, up a hill or moutain.
2. Allow yourself to quiet your mind and to awaken you sense of smell, touch, sight, taste and sound. Notice the sensations by feeling them in silence.
3. If you see something that you can pick up and hold do so and begin to collect leaves, nuts, branches, etc. (you can bring along a bag to hold them in ).
4. Make mental pictures of what you see.
5. Find a space to create a small ( or any size) installation in Nature, where you take what you have gathered, adding more, if needed and make your own work of nature art.
6. Sit with your piece and breathe it in, taking a mental or physical picture of it.
7. Notice how it felt doing this and how you feel now.
8. Come back in a day or so and visit it, accepting the natural process of change and decay inherent in nature as a metaphor for change in life.
9. Post your photos here!! Please!!!!!