Rewilding ...

Of all the world's creatures, perhaps those in greatest need of rewilding are our children. The collapse of children's engagement with nature has been even faster than the collapse of the natural world. In the turning of one generation, the outdoor life in which many of us were immersed has gone....So many fences are raised to shut us out that eventually they shut us in.

George Monbiot

I absolutely borrowed this from Terri Windling's blog, Myth & Moor.  I wanted to note it some place ...


What Have I Achieved... ?

I believe that half the trouble in the world comes from people asking 'What have I achieved?' rather than 'What have I enjoyed?'

Walter Farley

A wholehearted yes to this quote, found over on Terri Windling's beautiful blog, Myth & Moor.

I have decided that to die rich is stories is another way to measure a life.  I have never 'achieved' in the normal sense of the word but I like the way my life has played out so far.  I've lost everything twice but not in a traumatic way ... it's more that I simply stepped away from 'stuff'.

I read of people desiring, quite desperately it seems, to declutter their lives and I think, 'move countries' and take only the 23kg limit allowed by most carriers out of New Zealand.  It was the same when I moved from Istanbul. What you can't leave behind becomes clear ...


... But when we give ourselves permission, we move past this. The world once again reveals itself to us. We become open and aware, patient and ready to receive it....We give ourselves permission because we are the only ones who can do so.

Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, Dani Shapiro.

I love catching up with the wise words of Terri Windling via her blog, Myth & Moor.  She's a soul-soother somehow.

Meanwhile, I completely agree with the concept of time.   Something beautiful always emerges out of taking the time to play ... some of the best art, or the beginning of a series idea.

Needless to say, I'm missing Genova.  Here's an imperfect glimpse, taken between the portrait shoots I was doing for my book.

Alison Lurie, on great subversive works of childrens literature.

'The great subversive works of children's literature suggest that there are other views of human life besides those of shopping malls and the corporation. They mock current assumptions and express the imaginative, unconventional, noncommercial view of the world in its simplest and purest form. They appeal to the imaginative, questioning, rebellious child within all of us, renew our instinctive energy, and act as a force for change. This is why such literature is worthy of our attention and will endure long after more conventional tales have been forgotten.' -

Alison Lurie, from Don't Tell the Grown-ups, 1990.

Found over on Terri Windling's blog.

Perseverance ...

Of course you must perservere. Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Some days, working my way into the state of mind I need to work, I am fortunate and begin by reading a post by Terri Windling, a writer, artist, and book editor, and so much more. 

She offers up inspiration more often than not.  I smiled when I read her Cartier-Bresson quote this morning.  Just the first 10,000 photographs ... perserverance is all.

Arriving in Genova places love us back, of what they give us.

They give us continuity, something to return to, and offer familiarity that allows some portion of our lives to remain collected and coherent. 

They give us an expansive scale in which our troubles are set into context, in which the largeness of the world is a balm to loss, trouble, and ugliness.

And distant places give us refuge in territories where our own histories aren't so deeply entrenched and we can imagine other stories, other selves, or just drink up quiet and respite.

The bigness of the world is redemption.

Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby

I found these words over on a favourite blog of mine called Myth & Moor.  It's the site where Terri Windling notes down, oftentimes, beautiful words and wisdoms she finds along the way. 

Tonight I am sitting at Paola's kitchen table in Genova, again. My laptop and I are located next to an open window, one floor above the street and, after a 32 celsius day, I'm enjoying the softness of a  breeze that carries rumours of rain.

Today was quiet after yesterday's strangely epic journey here.  All went well till I landed at Milan's Malpensa airport. I picked up my soft cloth luggage, unzipped it to throw my camera bag in, noticing a  wet patch as I worked  ... and then the stench of it hit me.

At first I thought it was urine.  I was horrified.  Then I thought, okay, cat pee ... okay.  I wandered over to Lost and Found luggage and explained.  They were lovely.  I love this thing about Italy.  They remain human in times of deep distress and need while other countries in Europe have failed consistently.  But never mind.

The woman came round to my side of the counter ... sniffed, and diagnosed Fish!.  Apparently some people from countries that don't need to be named, pack fish in their luggage, gifts from or for relatives.  This fish had leaked all over my bag.

The Lost and Found woman filled out the necessary insurance forms for me, so sympathetic that I couldn't help but thank her.  I explained I had two trains and 3 hours of travel ahead of me.  Was there some place in the airport where I could replace my stinking bag.  She sent me up to Departures and eventually I located the only place selling anything like my bag ...  and there were no sales inside the airport.  Everywhere I been lately, in Belgium and Italy, there are sales.  Probably this airport was the only place without sales. 

I travel on a wish and a prayer.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only person left in the worlds that I know who doesn't have any kind of credit card.  I usually get by, even if I sometimes arrive home with just 10 euro in cash, or less.  Yesterday I was in despair.  I  could do it but it would seriously impact on my desire to fund this trip by myself.

I can't even write the price I had to pay for the bag that could fit my luggage into it.  And I had to have wheels because I am slightly broken in body and my equipment is heavy enough without having to carry the rest of my stuff too.  The luggage shop assistant was lovely.  She sent me off to another store, just in case they had something more reasonable but no.

I paid, I unpacked my luggage with just a few losses ... thank goodness for waterproofing I guess.  I dumped the stinking bag over by the rubbish bins she pointed to and we laughed as she said not to worry, that she had a spray that would clear the fishy stench my bag had created in her shop.  It stunk, so bad.  So unbelievably badly.  (But you got that by now, didn't you.)

I found a train to take me into Milan and it might have been okay with the stinky bag.  There was A/C and lots of space but the longer train journey, the 2 hours from Milan to Genova, that would have been a nightmare.  On that train I was seated in one of those little 6 seat cabins with 5 other people and a closed door.  The A/C was weak and the temperature outside was 30 celsius.

I imagined how horrific it would have been to have traveled with my fish-stinking bag.  Instead it was tranquil, people napped, helped one another with luggage, smiled, and were kind. 

It could have been another story entirely ... I was glad I had spent the money.

However today has been a far better day and full of good people.  And here's a glimpse of the flowers I found this morning.  Okay, so it was bread and cheese for dinner but really, it was all so very worth it I'm thinking, as I sit here by the window listening to the ebb and flow of life here in Genova this evening

I miss my morning walks in New Zealand

Outside, there was that predawn kind of clarity, where the momentum of living has not quite captured the day. The air was not filled with conversation or thought bubbles or laughter or sidelong glances. Everyone was sleeping, all of their ideas and hopes and hidden agendas entangled in the dream world, leaving this world clear and crisp and cold as a bottle of milk in the fridge.

Reif Larsen, from The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet.

Meanwhile, I'm playing this song on repeat and up loud as I work here this morning

And before I forget, I found the opening quote over on the marvellous Terri Windling's blog.

A glimpse from one of those early morning walks I took, back home in New Zealand ... Cooks Beach, on the Coromandel Peninsula ... sunrise.

Maybe it's animalness that will make the world right again: the wisdom of elephants, the enthusiasm of canines, the grace of snakes, the mildness of anteaters. Perhaps being human needs some diluting.

Carol Emswhwiller, from Carmen Dog.

Momo took all the balls to his bed under the stairs ... game over.

Quote found over at Terri's marvellous blog.

Terri Windling and Brenda Ueland

"But the moment I read Van Gogh's letter I knew what art was, and the creative impulse. It is a feeling of love and enthusiasm for something, and in a direct, simple, passionate and true way, you try to show this beauty in things to others, by drawing it. And Van Gogh's little drawing on the cheap note paper was a work of art because he loved the sky and the frail lamppost against it so seriously that he made the drawing with the most exquisite conscientiousness and care. ”

Brenda Ueland, from If Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit.

I found this extract this morning, just as I had set up my work station for the day, down here in the big country kitchen, and I thought it was surely something to share. 

I have Terri Windling's blog in my google reader and most days, she has something like this to share with whoever cares to read her.  She is a writer, artist, and book editor interested in myth, folklore, fairy tales, and the ways they are used in contemporary arts.