Walking through wilderness I am struck by the profound honesty of each sentient creature.
The place opens itself to scrutiny with nothing but sheer confidence. Nature’s power lies in an uncompromising and unashamed truth. Nature has no shameful secrets it needs to hide. And yet it is full of mystery.
You can be wild anywhere. Wildness is not the sole possession of the wilderness. If wildness is connected to landscape it is most certainly the landscape of the body. For in this life, the body is the home of the spirit and it is the spirit that is the true …
One of the simplest and most powerful ways to break out of social constraints and be wilder is to find a genuine yes and a genuine no.
It’s so simple and yet it will break you out of all sorts of compliance and obligation.
There is a reason why, in courtroom dramas, the lawyer always says, “it’s a yes or no question.” There is simplicity to these two words that establish a direction without the spinning of elaborate stories. Saying no when you mean no will bring you to your integrity. Saying yes from deep within, before all the reasons …
The way of discovery is fluid. The way of knowing is rigid.
The way of discovery invites. The way of knowing tells.
A tracker lives in immediate feedback loops of discovery. Often when tracking fast they will simply walk rapidly on the line of the animal in small zigzagging patterns. A track here: warmer… Nothing here: colder…
They respond to the signs on the earth (or the absence of signs) making quick course adjustments as they move in pursuit of their quarry.
They are learning as they go. Giving themselves the space to try things and work through a process …
There is a tree I know that has been teaching me about the power of presence. It’s an ebony tree with a thick black stem and dark limbs that flex into a thick canopy of evergreen leaves.
In stillness, the tree is uniquely itself. It is elegant. It does not have a five-year plan. The tree does not need to look busy to feel valuable or important. It is not actively doing anything. Yet, the scope of what that tree achieves is quite remarkable.
The tree invites birds to its branches. Recently a giant eagle owl took to roosting in …
To be a tracker is to develop a relationship with the unknown. Every time you come across a trail left by some elusive wild creature a question forms in the space between your eyes and the track, a question that is innate to every trail. The scope of unknown that lies ahead is unfathomable. The terrain is unknown, the animal’s movement, mood and whereabouts. Its presence on a vast landscape brings one to thoughts of needles and haystacks.
And yet, the tracker is inclined towards this. He is attracted by all the things he can’t know for within that evolution …
The force of life moves a leopard.
I believe presence is the ability to meet life. It is the simple way that the very intelligence of life guides us in every moment.
Leopards live in this deep union with the unified field of intelligence. They don’t move…they are moved.
What I mean is that a leopard does not have a verbal mind. There is not the mental construction “I should get moving”. But rather the moment shapes them from a feeling, from stimuli – maybe an impala crosses their path. Maybe the day cools. Maybe shade beckons. The unfolding of …
Trackers are adept at creating psychological states. On the trail of an elusive creature they enter a paradoxical place. They are obsessively determined to find the animal but the desire to find it has not been allowed to become a crippling attachment to outcome. What they commit to in order to generate the outcome is simply the next track, then the next track, then the next.
To me, what it looks like, is the dynamic nature of play. They are relaxed; they allow the moment to evolve. They lose the track and check the trail up ahead the go back …
There is an aloe in my garden I admire. With spiny fronds that protrude and odd wedges for leaves it looks like a kind of immobile alien. Viewed from a distance the word curmudgeon comes to mind. As a plant, the aloe looks defensive. That is because it is, with a supreme elegance. Its adaptions to the harshness of its surrounding are genius.
It is covered in small sharp thorns. Underneath the thorns is a thick waxy skin that prevents it losing moisture. Inside the frond is viscous foul tasting goo that, as a child, my mother would put on …
During a walk that I went on a couple of weeks ago, I felt a certain shift in consciousness, and a shift in the way that I was perceiving the natural world. It’s something that stayed with me for a long time, and I realised that what I was discovering was a much more native way of discovering myself in all things, in the natural world. It began with a very critical voice, centered on the fact that I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I had all these places I wanted to be, …
In the middle of the night across the river a lion roars. I rise from a half sleep and walk to the sliding doors that shut the night out. As they slide open a dimension opens. There is a distinct sense of stepping through a threshold as I go outside into the night. I feel in a few steps I have stepped from a domesticated comfort into a moonlit wildness.
The air is cool on my bare skin and the stars faint against the size of the moon. An ebony tree towers to my right silhouetted in silver light. From …