Windgrove’s future

October 5, 2016

Tasmania’s best minds and hearts are plotting out the future of Windgrove. As the story unfolds, stay in touch by signing up here .

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A new place to sit

May 12, 2017

“… the deep wisdom of the soul which recognises that life is about loss, and that love tempered by grief, allows one to cherish the ordinary, simple moments of everyday life, even as we know they are passing away.”

Robert Romanyshyn

It’s been over half a year since my last entry, but this doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy. Possibly, too busy to sit down at the computer and write.

In the foreground of the above photo is a 3 metre/10 foot log that weighs more than a tonne; hence, the hoist and tripod. In the background is a replacement (under construction) for the Shakespeare Bench that rotted away — originally using sassafras wood was a bad choice.

The placement of the finished Berensohn / Lawrence Memorial Bench is up the hill just beneath a grove of she-oaks planted some 20 years ago.

Unsurprisingly, the bench commands a spectacular view and, is itself, a rather imposing and powerful addition to the landscape.

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Nourishment

November 23, 2016

Where have all the people gone?

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Generally, aside from an hour and a half teaching session from 9AM in the morning and an hour Daily Puja reading earlier at 6:30AM, most of the 16 people here for a nine day Buddhist meditation retreat were outdoors. Not naval gazing, but embracing their interbeing with all other life. Not as detached empty vessels, but as passionate, curious, awe-struck individuals in love with life and its many mysterious manifestations.

Tarchin Hearn was an inspired and delightful teacher who talked of — not just contemporary Buddhist philosophy drawn from Mahamudra and Yogacara teachings — but of systems theory, deep-ecology and poetry. For me, personally, a perfect blend of science, earth, art and the sacred that was devoid of restrictive and judgemental dogma. So refreshing.

What better to do after the morning session than to be outdoors with the rest of our animal and plant ancestors? Walking the talk, so to speak.

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And, as soon as people had arrived and set up their tents, the nine days flashed by and they were taking their tents down, last hugs, and were off leaving me alone yet feeling throughly loved by everyone’s good energy in thought and deed — the deed being one hour of gift dana per day on the land and house.

Add this up: 16 hours per day by 8 days equals 128 hours of sweeping, raking, pulling bracken and weeding the veggie and flower gardens. Bursting with joy, the land, house and I were.

A day after everyone’s departure and I was contemplating the phase: “Before enlightenment: carry water, chop wood. After enlightenment: carry water, chop wood.”

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The reason? I had to empty out the composting toilet. Two years worth of human excrement which had been transformed by worms and slaters into a nice nourishing soil. Three wheelbarrow loads later, the ground around the pear trees felt blest. Indeed.

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Legacy

October 16, 2016

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

Rilke

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Turning 70 this year has motivated me — or, more correctly, forced me — to look at my mortality and eventual death and get serious on formulating and legalising what Windgrove’s future will be.

With neither a partner nor any children to give my estate, this allows an opportunity to broaden the nature of just whom might be the recipients. A more altruistic, global endeavour, perhaps?

On the other hand….. having spent the past 25 years — yes, that is a quarter of a century — working almost daily to shape the land (9,000 trees planted), create studio art, create site-specific land art (Peace Garden, Peace Fire, Gaia Evolution Walk), and, clean rain gutters, chop wood and wash dishes along with hosting countless numbers of visitors, artist-in-residents and workshop participants, I could be forgiven if I choose to sell up everything, move to California and rest my butt at a cafe in Berkeley getting fat on an endless supply of coffee and croissants.

But… as the Rilke poem suggests: I live my life in widening circles… and even though I may not complete this last endeavour, I will give myself to it: body, mind and soul.

This is the fearless artist speaking, forever envisioning and walking into the unknown. For now, the more lazy, comfort seeking inner voice is taking a back seat while the Windgrove legacy is being drawn up.

After you finish reading this blog Legacy, scroll back to the top where you will see a posting entitled Windgrove’s Future. Take a moment to click on here and, then, download your copy of the brochure that outlines what has been planned.

And, while there, please submit your name and email address for future updates.

The photo below is an aerial image by Dan Bailey of eight of the “widening circles”.

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From the pantry

October 2, 2016

The walk-in pantry off my kitchen is of a large enough size that occasionally, on a darkened shelf and at the back of this shelf, a vegetable or other edible gets placed — and then forgotten.

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Such was the case for this butternut squash where half was used for dinner and the other half placed in the pantry for later use — and then forgotten. Of course.

But nothing is ever wasted. I don’t mean that this mouldy piece of vegetable would be used in a soup or grilled in a hot fry pan, but that there is a story in its decay.

What stands out most is that the seeds have not yet been touched by the mould. All the other orange parts of the squash have succumbed, but not the seeds. Four groups gathered in defensive arrangements holding off till the last of their protective ammunition — whatever it is — is used up.

The analogy: As we go through life, plant seeds of hope. They just might survive through this contemporary onslaught of global negativity and burst into joyful blossom when we most need it.

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TODAY

September 28, 2016

So what am I doing at the base of the sculpture ‘Birth’?

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I’m carving the letters TODAY.
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Six hundred million years earlier, visitors to Windgrove begin their 1.2 kilometre journey along the Gaia Evolution Walk where each big step (one metre) equals 500,000 years.

The years roll by with each step. From the Precambrian Eon through to the Cenozoic Era — via the Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods — The Walk is completed when people touch the sculpture ‘Birth’ with its inscribed word: TODAY

Interestingly enough, after almost five years in the making, this lettering marks the formal completion of the Gaia Evolution Walk. The Walk is finally finished.

“To the future”, I say.

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On the gate is the sign: The Future. Once inside, students within the expansive classroom of the Wombat Circle talk, not only of what they learned along the Gaia Evolution Walk, but how they view the future of the planet, the environmental and social changes that will surely occur, and, most importantly, what role they might play in helping to create a peaceful word for themselves and others.

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Another topic of discussion that I like to bring up is whether or not human constructed art has a place in the natural environment. Is the sculpture ‘Birth’ an eye sore? Or, a lovely addition to the surrounding trees? Is it just one man’s ego intruding on the landscape?

Or, does it move beyond a pleasing aesthetic and become transformative to a person’s life? And the earth’s.

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