The Natural World

Colour is almost absent in this sketch-like translucent image of lines and arcs. Petals spread from the centre of a tightly cropped monochrome globe. Plant-like stems rise and wane into the distance. Close up I see the lines of age, the web of countless journeys, the ray of sun and fall of moon. Light and night. The slow change of season, the reach of water through cracks of rock.

Representations of the natural world are but faint shadows of its experience.

Everywhere on the surface of the earth has been changed by human activity: its land, the air, fresh water, seas and oceans.

It is difficult to acknowledge I have any impact on the earth as I am so very tiny on what seems to me such a vast, unbreakable world. The good I can do over the brief period of my existence seems so limited. Perhaps it is this failure to comprehend the scale over time of my want and waste that leads to harm.

The crust I know of as the natural world is but five kilometers at its deepest, a little over three miles. Everything I consider of as life lives in this narrow window of being. A distance I could walk in a single hour before I would witness the ever moving molten mantle. If I walk twelve hours further every day it would take at least another one hundred days to reach the centre of the earth's core, some 6,400 km (close to 4,000 miles) under my feet. The earth is big, the natural world: as gossamer on the surface of a ball held with arms outstretched.

As part of the natural world I consider my footprints in the sand as the light, sound and words I make.

In my home I surround myself with art that serves to comfort and indulge me by way of its beauty. It serves me as a walk in wilderness with those I love. For me, another of art's many functions is to jolt me from my ease, privilege, and presumption. Art causes me to think and feel, and the making of art, far more so. As I give time to work on 'The Natural World', as originator, as viewer, I glimpse our thin impossibly rare chance of life more truthfully, and seek to act with greater care.

An extract from the full size image follows.