Dan Bailey at Windgrove

January 15, 2016

It’s been a whirlwind of drone footage and photos for the past month by long time friend and guest artist at Windgrove: Dan Bailey.

windgroveaerialcircles Dan

For a visual treat, go to Dan’s own blog to see more images and read what he has written about his time here.

www.panopicnic.com

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My long time friend Dan Bailey is visiting Windgrove for a month. Here’s his first video of the area.

Enjoy this visual treat.

Emily at Roaring Beach from Dan Bailey on Vimeo.

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In the crystallin vastness of a starry night, if you or I look up into the billions of pin-pricks of light and try to comprehend the enormity of space and time and our place in it……

We can feel totally insignificant.

But…. We have a choice.

We can let our undeniable “smallness” crush our spirit and live out our lives feeling powerless, doing nothing but sleep walking through the days knowing it “will all end anyhow, so why bother”.

Or…. We can connect with this vastness and rejoice that we are graced by the magic of being alive at this very moment of time with a body made up of the very stardust that inhabits all. Wow. How lucky are we? We are literally linked to everything in the universe.

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So I sit beneath Gandalf’s Staff in the Styx Valley of the Giants waiting to meet up with the UNESCO World Heritage advisors — flown in via helicopter — to explain to them why these ancient forests should never be logged; even for the speciality timbers I might want to use. Simply put: There is no piece of art that is as beautiful as the standing old growth tree.

But why me? Why am I one of only three people chosen to talk on this issue.

Basically, who gives a shit as to why? The thing is, is that I was asked to do this. So I put down my tools in my studio and drove the eight hour round trip for a 30 minute session beneath this forest elder.

From each according to their ability. To each according to their need.

Yes, in many ways I am but a bit player in the role out of the magic carpet of life, but in this moment of time, our ancient forests need our collective help.

I’ll do whatever I can, no matter how seemingly small.

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May Peace Prevail on Earth

November 16, 2015

If family stories are true, my father started primary school at 18 years of age and went straight through to a master’s degree in accounting.

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He arrived in America by boat and, like most immigrants loved his new country. More often than not his eyes would well up with tears when he sang America’s national anthem.

Throughout his life, though, he felt the pressure of being a foreigner in a new land. His surname Adamov was changed to Adams, not because he was ashamed of his heritage, but discrimination against “foreigners” wouldn’t allow him the freedom to move up the social/economic ladder as quickly as his desires and needs to support a family wanted to move along.

As a young lad, my father spent the entirety of WWI in Serbia. As an adult and because of what he saw and experienced of war, he shunned conflict and worked hard to make friends of Catholics and other people outside his historic ethnic Serbian Orthodox religious biases — even marrying my mother, a Protestant.

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“Within every wound their is the seed of hope.”

Our global society is being severely wounded. And tested.

Every culture, including my “adopted” country Australia, has an unconscious xenophobic fear of immigrants, asylum seekers and those newly arrived. It rises to the surface when stirred up by the insanity of terrorism, but also by shock jocks, politicians and religious leaders looking to promote their particular world view.

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My father chose peace, forgiveness and compassion over millennia of fear, distrust and hatred of “The Other”.

Make no mistake, my father had some wide fault lines in his character after experiencing what he experienced as a youth. But his chosen path — however rocky — was towards Peace.

I can do nothing less than honour him and the path he chose by walking this path myself.

Perhaps, even changing my name back to Adamov?

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On Saturday the first of three cactus flowers (among many) started to open. Watching these, as Georgia O’Keefe would view a flower, I photographed their progress over three days. The poem at the end adds another element to this photo essay on “Nature as Teacher”.

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You ask why sometimes I say stop

You ask why sometimes I say stop
why sometimes I cry no
while I shake with pleasure.
What do I fear, you ask,
why don’t I always want to come
and come again to that molten
deep sea center where the nerves
fuse open and the brain
and body shine with a black wordless light
fluorescent and heaving like plankton.

If you turn over the old refuse
of sexual slang, the worn buttons
of language, you find men
talk of spending and women
of dying.

You come in a torrent and ease
into limpness. Pleasure takes me
farther and farther from shore
in a series of breakers, each
towering higher before it crashes and spills flat.

I am open then as a palm held out,
open as a sunflower, without
crust, without shelter, without
skin, tideless and unhidden.
How can I let you ride
so far into me and not fear?

Helpless as a burning city,
how can I ignore that the extremes
of pleasure are fire storms
that leave a vacuum into which
dangerous feelings (tenderness,
affection, love) may rush
like gale force winds.

Marge Piercy

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Zaki and the Goddess

November 3, 2015

Standing as sentry to a new world of ethical behaviour, she’s youthful, if not young; strong, determined and committed to helping asylum seekers be treated with the love they deserve.

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The many shoes that were strewn at the entrance to my home this past week — with the exception of Zaki, Victor and myself — were the footwear of 14 women. All holding within themselves the strength of Artemis: the Goddess of, and the very symbol of action.

The presence of all these women gives proof to what Sharon Blackie writes about:

“I believe we need to find our way out of the Wasteland, and I believe that women hold the key.

While there is mutual respect between the two partners – between the goddess and the king, between the land and the people, between nature and culture, between feminine and masculine – then all is in harmony and life is filled with abundance. But when the contract is broken, the fertile land becomes the Wasteland. And so it is that today we find ourselves in an ailing world, cut off from our roots. So we find ourselves in a Wasteland of unbelonging; in the throes of a worldwide environmental crisis of our own making which threatens the existence of so many species on this planet.”

Sharon Blackie, author of If Women Rose Rooted

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What’s not unusual about the above photo is that it shows the predominance of women doing the grassroot’s work of the world.

Whether environmental, social, economic or spiritual, the leading figures or gurus doing the talking — but not necessarily the walking — are usually men.

The real work, however, happening behind the scenes, out of the lime light and in cities across the globe is being done by young women, middle aged women, older women, mothers and grand-mothers.

Self promotion is not in their vocabulary. But service is. And transformation.

Astrid and Jill, who have facilitated Ecoevolutionaries Wildheartfulness Journeys several times at Windgrove, were present once again for a three day retreat for the coordinators of the Welcome Dinner Project for asylum seekers and the Joining the Dots NGO.

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The flag iris pops out of the ground at this time of year. Its visual strength lies in the grouping of the collective. In many ways, we are all dots and somewhat insignificant, but as a whole we can affect great change.

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And the endearing focus of this weekend was Zaki. A loving man. A courageous man. A sometimes fearing man. A hopeful man.

Zaki is/was from Afghanistan and fled to avoid being, not just persecuted, but executed. His arrival by boat is viewed by our two major political parties as “illegal” — which it isn’t — and his ability to remain in Australia is not guaranteed.

He is a more-than-shining-example of the good that refugees and immigrants can bring into a foreign country. His work ethic is enormous. His commitment to volunteer work is enormous. His heart is enormous.

Two weeks ago Zaki won the International Student of the Year Award. Being Muslim, he wouldn’t partake in the traditional bubbly. Instead, we popped open a non-alcoholic champagne and had an equally joyful celebration.

Welcome group

Women are at the forefront of most volunteer and social/environmental activist organisations. The ratio this past weekend was 14 women to 3 men. As Sharon Blackie hints at, women hold the key to bringing about change. My hope is that eventually many more men will join with them in bringing about this change.

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