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How To Get There 20/10/19

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, October 20th, 2019 - 56 comments
Categories: Deep stuff - Tags:


This post is a place for positive discussion of the future.

An Open Mike for ideas, solutions and the discussion of the possible.

The Big Picture, rather than a snapshot of the day’s goings on. Topics rather than topical.

We’d like to think it’s success will be measured in the quality of comments rather than the quantity.

So have at it!

Let us know what you think …

56 comments on “How To Get There 20/10/19”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    Outside of my window, a family of house sparrows is busy feeding and being fed. The parent birds have built a nest inside a basket I hung beneath the veranda roof and filled it with eggs that hatched a few days ago. They talk a lot to each other, chirping mainly, but occasionally making other hard-to-describe sounds (tui in my garden clonk, at times, and starlings click. Riroriro warble, of course and kereru softly coo. The bellbirds chime and there's another bird, unseen in the canopy, that trills; it's a summer-evocative sound but I can't pin it to a particular bird. One day I'll see it singing and know. The dawn chorus here is pretty thrilling. I'm reading Monica Gagliano's "This Spoke the Plant" presently, in which her experiments to prove that plants are conscious beings who learn and remember, are combined with her visits to South America and various maestro vegetalista who helped her understand, sometimes with the help of ayahuasca and other transformative plants, how to get there.

    Oh, a heron just sailed low overhead, like a less-leathery version of a pterodactyl, scaring away the pigeon that was making a meal of the blossom on the quince tree into which the house-sparrows flee if someone walks suddenly out onto the veranda; it's a beautiful, calm day here in Riverton; perfect for planting the dozens of ligularia and hosta whose seed I sowed in the autumn and now have grown to garden-ready size, over-filling their pots and aching to join. all of those other sentient beings in the forest garden smiley


    • Incognito 1.1

      Very soothing, Robert, and good to see that after that long hot bath you are highly-strung no longer. Somehow, I don’t think you’d need the help of ayahuasca and other transformative plants, to get there, when again (still?) you’ll be in the moment when planting today.

      • Robert Guyton 1.1.1

        Very little planting would occur once the psychedelics engage, I imagine, Incognito. I sometimes wonder if I'm being employed as a gardener by the plants here, rather than me being the decision-maker; some of the trees out there look petty influential, if you ask me! They keep me at the work, I reckon, by upping my endorphin levels and filling my lungs with oxygen, addicting me to the act of planting. I get on better with some trees than others; my ginkgo and I have a good relationship (we go way back) but I've had to speak sternly to a particular laburnum who seemed to have taken a dislike to me, whapping me about the head every time I tried to push through the thicket in which it grew. I shared stern words and pruned off the offending branch and now we're good, though one of us is sulking a littlesmiley

        • Incognito

          We once had a ginkgo that was a very stubborn little tree that refused to grow, like Oskar in Die Blechtrommel. We even took it with us when we moved house because it had become a member of the family, so to speak. I have no idea of its fate but ever since I pay special attention to ginkgos as they seem to have a personality that suits and fascinates me. I now have an interesting wee kauri that shows similar behaviour. Maybe it’s me …

          • Robert Guyton

            They do that when young but when they "take off", they go! I have 4 here. Their leaves speak of primeval times. Kauri behave similarly, so yours is a shared experience. Mine sat and sat then took off. She's a beauty and rocketing up through the canopy since I made a hole in it to let in more light. 

        • weka

          "I sometimes wonder if I'm being employed as a gardener by the plants here, rather than me being the decision-maker"

          Subversive. Imagine humans loosening their grip enough to let nature lead. My small contribution and this spring's satisfaction seeing how many more dandelions are in the lawn.

    • francesca 1.2

      Robert, what a beautiful start to the day!

      Yours and now mine!

      I love the imagined sight of all that lush foliage(ligularias and hostas)… dreamlike

      Thank you!
      And heartfelt congrats too

      • Robert Guyton 1.2.1

        Thanks, Francesca, I'm over the….you know; if she's "Mother Earth", will our satellite be "Aunty Moon"? Francis of Assissi said, "Brother Sun" and "Sister Moon" creating some confusion for me. Papatuanuku and Marama, or Runa, La Luna. Maybe we can choose our own addresses. Do you know Henri Rousseau's "The Dream"? I'm guessing you do. I collected my Tecomanthe speciosa from the nursery yesterday; ordered before Christmas and finally in my hands; that would look just fine in Rousseau's painting or in my garden. Very frost-tender though; I'll have it in a pot and bring it inside for our southern winter. 

        • greywarshark

          I had to look that one up.

          Tecomanthe speciosa Three King's Climber – Awa Nursery

          https://www.awanursery.co.nz › our-plants › tecomanthe-speciosa-three-ki…

          Tecomanthe speciosa Three King's Climber. This attractive NZ native climber is one of the rarest plants in the world being discovered in 1946 with one sole …

          I thought for a moment it was that bushy shrub that has the beautiful warm violet flowers – frost tender..   That would lovely as a side plant in a painting of a garden.

          • Robert Guyton

            The species was reduced to a single representative, thanks to goats and ultimately, us. Now, they're a popular garden plant. This is our future speaking.

          • greywarshark

            Just to note what shrub I was thinking of – Tibouchina.  They like a well drained acid soil and are frost tender.

        • francesca

          The Dream 


          Got a Tecomanthe growing under the eaves. It flowers right off the woody trunk as well as new growth.Big creamy bunches, though this after about 15 years.Flowering was very sporadic before that 

          It has ambitions to get in to the house 

          • Robert Guyton


            • greywarshark

              In the 60s and 70s before the dreaded grey virus of property speculators, there were innovative houses designed round trees,

              The trunk I guess would have the verandah, or conservatory built around it as there would need to be open space all round it with air moving freely inside-outside.    I always liked that idea.

    • solkta 1.3

      The only time i see a Sparrow in my garden is when it has a Tui in tight pursuit. They no like them.

      • Robert Guyton 1.3.1

        I can imagine, solkta, but here the tui don't bother them at all and perhaps vice versa. Tui flight velocity and accuracy amaze me; their "global" sense of space is unimaginably keen and their reaction-time like the speed of light! Mind you, butterfly-flight makes me swoon; how do they manage those huge sails so adroitly??

      • AB 1.3.2

        This spring  I have seen our tuis robbing sparrows of nesting material. Pulling on the other end of bits of dry grass the sparrows are carrying in their beaks and usually making of with most of it. Not sure if the tuis really want the stuff or are just being bullies as usual.

        • Robert Guyton

          When I'm working in my nursery, there's a tui who swoops perilously close to my head; perilously close, every time, then alights in a kowhai nearby and chimes. I feel he won't hit me but he's showing me he could! I suppose a student of tui behaviour could tell me what's happening; as it is, I can't determine whether the act is friendly or not; he might be using bravado to show his affection, I don't know. One time, he flew under my hand as I was kneeling, weeding; that's within 50cm of the ground, full-speed, for fun, I think.

  2. I read the other day that people have found a way for plants to take selfies using a small charge from their own electrical system. Doing interesting things like this which will lead to useful checks on pest and plant virus effects is an example of what we can do to help ameliorate CC and pass our time in positives, rather than ignoring or being depressed by the negatives. Doing what we can.

    I think that's a way to face the future.   Who knows if we can really make a big change but let's start a group called AAToCC – Attractive Alternative Therapies of Climate Change Action.    Protest is good, but each individual who looks at another in mutual simple goodwill and jointly work at something to enhance healthy-minded community is a healing graft on our Trees of Life – we may be able to turn it into a forest.

    Find a way to maintain a simple existence and devote your time to something that interests you.   Drop materialism, and use up things till they fall apart if you can.   Keep buying, but more slowly;  let the economy subside to a sustainable level rather than collapse. 

    Retired people on a pension could be like spice in an apple cake, bringing zest into the rather sad living that has resulted from bad decisions during our lifetimes.   Al;so look to getting the most possible community enjoyment from your position as older respected person.   Take time to bring your health up, and your pills down.  If you are unwell, look at changing your lifestyle and adopting the fresh food diet; getting your weight down and fitness up.  

    Then go out into the community and run wellbeing groups that help overweight people who you can think about as having put on weight as a defence against a harsh world.   If they can feel community and adopt small changes that make them feel stronger, they will also lose some weight and then be able to exercise more, and that recurring circle will result in a bigger person inside a smaller frame!

    The system we have is taking us towards the edge, so why not spend your remaining time doing something for and with others that you can be proud of.  No moaning minny or fault-finding fred moving round your extremely tidy home, maintaining your perfect garden.l   If you have aspirations to live your life to the full, get out and mix and appreciate the kaleidoscope of life.   Be a prism, picking up faint rays of splendour from others and magnifying them for all to see.   Become a good samaritan if that pleases you, or follow sports exclusively at the same time keeping to fair human concerns for each other, play bridge or scrabble every day and then visit a school and run scrabble games, or give the young school dropouts some time, teach them to read, help them get together in alternative gangs and learn how to be strong-minded with good principles etc.

    I have followed what is happening in the world and we humans and it isn't pleasing.    We aggrandise ourselves with too many fighting machines, and others.    If we now enjoy our and others humanness and look at the birds and their eggs, look into the face of a flower, grow for the bees, work to stop spraying, support organics, we will be doing all we can in our short time on earth.  We can think about how we interact with say, the cows (should their calves be taken away from them so the farmer can get their colostrum), and be understanding of our natures, the pesky keas (they are building an activity area for them to keep them off the cars down south somewhere).   We will be happier, even in difficult times, when we accept humbly that we are small with big ideas and enjoy being human in a positive, outgoing way.

    • Robert Guyton 2.1

      Yes to all that, Grey.

      And of kea; "(they are building an activity area for them to keep them off the cars down south somewhere)"


      That's the way!

      • Sabine 2.1.1

        well that sounds like an outdoor aviary so that we can continue to drive our cars all over the wilderness. 

        its indeed the future and this is indeed why we (well our children) are fucked. 

        what do you reckon is the survival chance for he Fantail considering that that one is a carnivore and will want bugs ra ther then plant based meat? Nil? 

        yes, i am a cynic and yes the only way forward is with us being a little less pretentious  and cheery when considering providing 'playgrounds for wildlife' while we destroy their wilderness left right n centre, and maybe leave our effn cars not in the natural playgrounds of birds and other critters. 

        • Poission

          The laughter of the fantail,rewarded death and prevented overpopulation.

          Te Rangi Hiroa (vikings of the sunrise)

          "As in other island groups, Maui obtained fire from the Underworld and snared the sun. New Zealand legend has a quest for immortality which differs from the Tuamotuan myth of the sea-slug already related. Maui sought to slay Hine-nui-te-po (Great-goddess-of-night) while she was asleep in her cave. He took with him a number of birds as companions. He enjoined upon them the necessity for absolute quiet while he entered into the body of the goddess to remove her heart and so end the cause of death. Unfortunately he committed an error of judgment in including the flycatcher, or fantail, in his retinue. This bird cannot remain still, and when it saw Maui entering the body of the goddess it twittered with laughter. The goddess awoke and Maui was strangled. An old lament says:

          Death overtook the leaders of men
          When Maui was strangled by the Goddess of Death,
          And so death remained in this world, alas!

          I could throw a stone at the descendants of that flycatcher, but perhaps I had better not, for problems of overpopulation might have arisen had the flycatcher not laughed."

          • Sabine

            In the three years here in MiddleNUZealand i have seen them disappear. 

            Where they used to be an abundance of these little critters there are now none, instead we are covered in flies. 


            • Robert Guyton

              The huia has gone, as has the Laughing Owl. There will be and have been losses. Tecomanthe speciosa, however, was rescued from the jaws of extinction and now flourishes across the motu. A sign of hope. The Piwaiwaka in my forest garden are as lively as the one that lured Maui into the decisive grip of Mahuika's netherworld.

              • Sabine

                Well lucky you then. 

                • weka

                  Lucky Piwaiwaka, and relatives.

                  • Sabine

                    that bird is only lucky so long where it is so as long as the property remains what it is. 

                    the moment someone else has it – by sale or inheritance – then that 'protection' is gone. 

                    How lucky is that? 

                    Really are we that far down the rabbit hole that we consider a species to be lucky cause one person has a property that allows them to still survive? 

                    We are so fucked. 

                    • weka

                      Robert isn't the only person in Riverton or Southland planting trees. There's native bush not too far away, the more properties that have good habitat, the more the habitat spreads.


            • weka

              While mainstream NZ focuses on predators (important), we're not yet willing to have a conversation about habitat loss so that humans can make more money. There's a reason Extinction Rebellion included ecology/biodiversity in their demands.

              • Robert Guyton

                I am. Willing that is. When farmers claim their farms are biologically diverse, I think how 3-dimensional a forest is, compared to the planar nature of pasture. Farmers don't compare the space they work on to the forests that were destroyed to make way for them and their animals. If they did, they might/should, despair.

                • Sabine

                  Farms are one thing,

                  but the biggest loss in my opinion does not only occur on farms but in the wholesale racing of everything that lives to concrete it over in order to make space for double + 5 garages and drive ways. 

                  But then we all love our cars, and we shall never give up our cars, and thus nothing can be done. 

                  I mean i get it. You were lucky at some stage in your live to find a nice affordable plot of land and now you have this and you have that and thus not all is bad, right? And you got to live what became your dream, or maybe it was a dream and you fulfilled it. But frankly you are one of the lucky ones. And still it is our generation that will leave nothing to the next. 

                  Sometimes those that have the most are funnily enough those that are the blindest. 

                  • Robert Guyton

                    Like a bat, me. I've finished planting my kanga ma and now I'm off to scout around the local arbouretum for unwanted seedlings.

                    I'll wear my hair-shirt and shoes that pinch.smiley

        • Robert Guyton

          Ah, but it's the trend that's important, Sabine. When someone proposes to distract an agent, rather than kill it, we should rejoice; thinking is changing. The details irk when the desire is to jump straight to the conclusion, but direction of travel and travel itself is how to get there. An "outdoor aviary" existed before humans. It has suffered degradation but the new iteration will have wild spaces, for sure; more than there are now, not fewer and there will be aviary-keepers, all of us, tending to the managed parts and protecting the wild. While we oughtn't to be pretentious, it's very unbecoming, we should, once we've eaten our deserved dishes of humble pie, get on with making amends; we've a lot to do, repairing the effects of our experiments. That sort of challenge requires a lifted chin and a keen ear. We won't be doing it on our own and we have to be responsive to advice from outside of our species. In my opinion.

          • Sabine

            i shall rejoice because we are gonna be building an outdoor aviary for birds so that our cars don't get damaged? 

            Good grief. 

            We don't repair the damage we have done by building more cages. WE continue to do the damage we have done and will do some more with this 'greenwash' cause at the end, neither you nor many others are happy to give up their cars, their comforts, their privilege. 

            question: When you hold your huis at your property, how do people arrive? By shuttle, by airplane, by car? How much damage is done? And why on earth should the birds be put in cages while it should be us that should live in cages as the dangerous uncontrolled and untamed animals that we are? 

            I am coming to the conclusion that you too are not the solution but rather just another one who thinkgs that little plasters will stop the bleeding. Sorry, i don't want to be rude, but i am over this lets do nothing much and pretend its something nonsense. All this is simply just to make us feel better in our extreme greed and destruction. Lookit here ….a cage for a bid so that we don't get angry when it destroys our car that we parked in its wilderness. 

            As for the fantails, well i guess that little bird will go the way of the dodo cause 'its the way its always been' right? 

            anyways. I shall stay away from this thread. No need to come here. 

            • Mista Smokey

              Ahhh, Sabine, greetings to you, but maybe you've gone. My breakfast this morning, fruit in the sun. And savouring the Garden of Birds we began to create here in a grassy paddock 24 years ago. 

              After a journey to Scotland and Orkney, thrilled by the sight of standing stones, I made a fire circle here of upright driftwood logs harvested from the river, also setting here eager live trees, like totara. My eyes are often drawn to the Golden Totara where I buried, good and true – and with permission of the Mother – the placentae of my Grand-daughters. So, in turn, each, with tree, to be further protected by the good-sized Guardian Stone I'd lugged from the river. 

              Came the birthing-night, the first grand-daughter born here in our house. I could not be present, but accepted that. Sadly, I'd not been able to see a placenta before. But at midnight, I had time now to study this wondrous thing, and then go forth solo to the Fire-Circle, and as a brand-new Grandfather, perform my first task: to dig, give blessing & soft-song, place the after-birth, return the soil and set upon it the grand, yellow Guardian.  

              Over years that followed, I'd located the grave of my Great-grandmother, way south. The guardian stone had done its job here by now. So I had a plaque made and fixed to it. Heading, now in the home-straight from Central Otago, Middlemarch to Dunedin, it was a Highland day o'days: rain-snow-sleet-wind-sun-calm and so to the cemetery and miracle of open-gate for another little ceremony and The Stone, deep-set. There, Dreamstone to span six generations of our family's female-folk.

              Sabine, I do not feel "pretentious and cheery" living and writing this. And I will heed the scientists ahead o'the cynics. I choose this: to be dead-set serious, with gratitude. Yes, and with joy, at times, regardless.

              Here, newly-created, are many trees. Birds. Energy. Life…But the next ten years are crucial for our world, scientists say. A big 'maybe' but the chance is there. We can diminish the problem for the life-forms of this planet, more or less, depending. So is there time, for us, a plague species? Some may say, too late. Others choose to work with insight, purpose, and go, go well as they can.

              Placenta of the third grandchild? Installed one afternoon, all the whanau keen and able to attend this time. Guardian Stone was a big 'un. I carried it in my gasping pack down our nearby Little Quartz Mountain. And knowing, "Way t'go, Old Man! And never again lug a load like this!" 

              Up that mountain, just 30 years ago, some visionaries planted 5000 totara. These are doing well, sizing up great. And just this winter, with a neighbour and friend, with the gasping pack, I have lugged some loads up that mountain. So, planting, with the owners' permission, mostly rimu. Some matai. They have the chance to grow there hundreds o'years I guess. There's remnant origin forest here, now QE2 covenanted (by the descendants, Sabine), with grand rimu/kahikatea/matai. We have added some new ancestor-trees.

              Sooo, to Life. Good luck you birds, insects, tuna, soils and sunsets.


              • Robert Guyton

                Mista Smokey – grassy paddock to Garden of Birds; it's a simple as that!

                But what will we eat, I hear them bleat?

                Why, hazel, sweet chest and wal nuts, we say; shiitake and bolete, even truffles if we've work smart. Pear and apple, plum and apricot, peach, quince and nectarine. Mulberry and blackberry, red and black currant, gooseberry, raspberry and tay; sloe and juniper, kiwi and grape, feijoa and fig; but over winter, they low? Jams and chutneys, pickles and ferments; ciders and beers, wines and spirits. Cool-stored pip-fruit, bottled stone-fruit, leathers and dried fruit; clamped potato, sand-boxed carrot, shelved pumpkin and dark-stored yam; artichoke from the soil-store, lettuce fresh from the garden; dried pea, jarred beetroot. Tumeke!



                We grow our fire-fuel, our fences, our trellis; there's clay and sod under our feet. Water falls from the sky; wine of the goose. Brother Sun shines down upon us. All in a Garden of Birds. 

                There's no doubt some solace to be had from a field of ryegrass and ruminants, but it pales, fair pales when viewed from within the fragrant  confines of a Garden of Birds!

                • Who is and where, putting great trees in paddocks with animals, so having trees, fruit, nuts and animals?  Of course, the trees should not have any poisonous effect on animals in any of their growth.    It seems that a mixed farm would be the best one, but must be done so it is viable financially as well as environmentally.

                  Incidentally on Country Life this morning some great hard working people as farmers who actively live on their farms and work them usually are, said that they had an orchard of hazelnuts.   I think they said they were about four times more profitable than having animals, that they have one of the best hazelnut varieties in the world, and the bloke has a penchant! for machinery design and has come up with a great harvesting machine that is pretty unique also!   And they grow on hazelnuts in their nursery.    What if you could put these trees in that won't produce for a while, get a carbon credit as soon as they go in, so are earning something from Day 1?

                  https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/countrylife/audio/2018718319/nuts-about-hazels  Listen to the story duration 13′ :54″

                  Caroline and Mark Eastmond run Hazelnut Nurseries on the hills near Waiau in North Canterbury.

                  Initial planting began in 1993 and now they have about 1,300 established trees producing nuts for the local market.

                  Ninety percent of the trees in the Eastman's orchard are Whiteheart – a hazelnut cultivar developed by Hamish Deans.
                  New Zealand is the only place in the world where Whiteheart hazelnuts are grown commercially, according to Mark. The rest of the trees are pollinators.

                  Mark designed and made the machinery he uses for processing the small round nuts in his workshop.
                  "There was nothing around the world that did what I created," he says proudly.
                  "I came up with a process that you literally tip nuts in at one end and the machine cleans, sizes, cracks, separates and they come out on a conveyer belt."

                  Mark has also built a unique harvesting machine that quickly sucks the nuts up off the ground.

                  The couple also grows hazelnut trees for commercial orchard plantings and have supplied trees and support to many new growers throughout the country over the past 12 years.

                  Business-wise, Caroline believes they've cracked the nut.
                  "The orchard has been a very valuable part of our property and, as a whole, this property has paid for itself, even on 20 acres, many times over and it continues to pay its way," she says.

            • weka

              they're not putting keas in cages. They're building structures for the keas to play on instead of damaging logging trucks or moving road cones.

            • greywarshark

              Sabine the choice for mental health and agency for doings things in the future might be between fantail and fanatic.    One finds helpful stuff for living and the other is sad and other rhyming words.

          • weka

            The challenge I reckon is envisaging how NZ can make a living that doesn't involve mass tourism or snow making. Repurposing snow patrols and tour guides to biodiversity restoration.

            • greywarshark

              Snow making was helpful for tourism which put money in the system.   Can we have biotourists and turn the lemon to good quality home made lemonade earning home-based dollars?

              This is where we could get involved more closely with woofers, they come here and go home, thus keeping our international transport systems going, they enjoy NZ usually and keep us on the map, the ones I meet are interested in our country and sometimes very positive.
              And they understand the value of the environment which we have so got used to and underappreciate that we are trashing it. They would work in environmental programs but would have housing and meals and some small spending money provided. They would have their own transport to and from NZ set up before allowed in. Then they will be treated well, not used as slaves!

            • Janet


              Maybe the challenge is simply met if we returned to making what we need ourselves again instead of importing things “more cheaply “than they can be made in NZ. We have lost so many businesses and skills over the last 3 decades; some of the ones I have been directly in contact with include, all the specialised technicians that cared for our Air NZ planes, all the commercial and most of the artisan potters in NZ. Can you add to the list, I am curious to know just how many NZ skills and work we have displaced to offshore providers in the name of “more financially economic” and to hell with other benefits making our own brings.   Prostituting our unique environment to tourism is NOT the alternative answer.

        • peterlepaysan


      • greywarshark 2.1.2

        Hi Robert, good to read you again – these close counts in politics are so tricky aren't they – you, the Wellington mayoralty, UK referendum 'ill met by moonlight”, or daylight, leading to the Brexit mosh pit maul in the Commons.  

        Myself I have been down and now up I have decided.   The only way to cope is to embrace life, do what I can and look for others to join with, who see through the glass darkly* yet turn to being positive and respecting individuality not conformity.    I will look for your input regularly amongst others here who I read and who bolster my mind with their minds and words.

        I came across an 18 year old who has dropped out of college and is trying to work towards the limiting of the wrong ways of using our environment, organising our physical and mental landscape that we have developed in society.    She found that her peers were fixated on appearance etc and a considerable way from realising themselves as individual humans with much to learn in a short time if they are to get to Maslow's top level.    She is at present helping with Extinction Rebellion activities here.   And I will be doing something along those lines, trying to spread myself out like vegemite!   Which is quite potent isn't it, you don't need much to know you have had it.

        * Snippet –    The quote is a portion of a Bible verse from the King James version of the Bible, 1 Corinthians Chap 13 verse 12: "

        For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

        Did they have glass in Jesus' time or when The Corinthians was written? It goes back a long way.    Did we know all we needed to know back thousands of years ago, but just failed to pass it on throughout society and to the coming generations?


        • Robert Guyton

          "Did we know all we needed to know back thousands of years ago, but just failed to pass it on throughout society and to the coming generations?"

          I reckon we knew almost all we needed to know back in the day, well before BC turned to AD. What we couldn't see, or protect ourselves against, was the psychopathic black hole that exists in consciousness and has flowered (darkly) in recent centuries. Our challenge now is to identify that and counter it in a way that renders it forever redundant. Then get busy repairing the harm it caused.

          • Incognito

            Knowledge, what do we know? Have we lost ancient and primeval knowledge, or simply forgotten it? Can we retrieve it or do we have to re-learn it? Perhaps it just buried underneath the ‘knowledge’ of modern man, Homo scientificus.

            Much of our so-called knowledge is how to cope with modern technology, e.g. how to use our devices to comment on The Standard, how to operate the microwave, the washing machine, the TV, so that we can ‘watch’ a bunch of guys running on a manicured lawn with magical white lines fighting over a piece of leather in the land of the rising sun in a different time zone.

            We understand very little of what’s going on in and with our lives. Thanks to technology, we can now generate big data but only with the help of technology and so-called algorithms can we make some sense of it.

            When we ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil our perspective changed into a dualistic one and we focussed on the ‘wrong’ things and forgot who we are and how we were, in a state of unity. We never left and we don’t need to get there.

            We cannot undo the past and we must not discard, disown or deny anything. I believe the key is integration. Instead of running after a fluttering butterfly we should sit down and watch it and everything else and become one, or whole, if you like. Yet, our monkey brains have an attention span less than a goldfish and we keep chasing those dreams of ours, judging, and condemning the dreams of others without knowing why.

            • Robert Guyton

              Each of us interprets the world differently due to the filters we have amassed since we were born. Recognising that each person has a different arrangement of filters is one thing but so is the realisation that we collectively perceive things similarly. Practises that erase or lift those filters generally produce the experience of the numinous where the stuff of the universe is perceived to be love. 

              • Mista Smokey

                Friends, let's go to Orkney. Skara Brae settlement, five thousand years old, revealed by The Ferocious Storm of 1850.

                Place of peace? Well, no weapons found there. The structures, all similar in shape and size. So, can we assume then, no hierarchy? The later dwellings were surrounded by shells and detritus. As insulation, it's thought. And the people created simple, beautiful things. The residents disappeared into mystery. We could view this not-knowing as a loss, but it may offer a gift: we can choose to be one with these kinda…hippie folk??!

                Last week, I told how my wife and I, walking (in Orkney storm) to the later settlement of Midhowe, took shelter for a while in a handy tomb. Later we learned that the Midhowe residents had quality of life. Warmer conditions now. Crops, cattle, fishing. Apparently they could survive well on two or three days of labour a week. So, had time for other projects, to create, say, the mighty stone circles, and, I guess, accompanying rituals.

                It's said The Goddess pre-dated the (ferocious) patriarchal religions. There are carvings. When I was a kid, I escaped a deadly school to travel the mountains of adventure, beauty, growth. Wondering, there, did Jehovah make all this? A knowing came, to feel, as now: No Jehovah for me here. Mother-Nature is the boss. For a tiny speck o'time I'm a part of this.  

                And realised the teachings of Jesus require no priest or church. It's dead-set simple, just live it: Love one another, forgive enemies, seek our higher self (Kingdom of Heaven)

                And The Goddess is surely somewhere in the mix. Let's not forget her. There are carvings of old. We can reclaim her, the notions of love, care, gentleness, growth and all. 

                In our garden, my wife has a stone-carving called The Spirit of Summer. She has smiled on us, our labours and being, for near a quarter of a century. The other end o'the garden I have Ronan's grave-stone, inspired & carved from my photo-image of the real thing in The Outer Hebrides. I often go to Ronan to say G'day, whadda y'reckon mate? I love his moss-coating and renew it with water in the dry-times. In the eighth century, Ronan went to the Island of Rona, some 30 miles north o'Lewis. How did he get there, my Friends? Well, it's said he rode on the back of a whale-like creature called Cionaran Cro. 

                Kia-ora, Paikea!

                You, Leunig.

                You, Robert, who tends this fertile site.  The bird-tucker menu above, can be read like a pagan Poem of Life:

                But what will we eat, I hear them bleat?

                Why, hazel, sweet chest and wal nuts, we say; shiitake and bolete, even truffles if we've work smart. Pear and apple, plum and apricot, peach, quince and nectarine. Mulberry and blackberry, red and black currant, gooseberry, raspberry and tay; sloe and juniper, kiwi and grape, feijoa and fig; but over winter, they low? Jams and chutneys, pickles and ferments; ciders and beers, wines and spirits. Cool-stored pip-fruit, bottled stone-fruit, leathers and dried fruit; clamped potato, sand-boxed carrot, shelved pumpkin and dark-stored yam; artichoke from the soil-store, lettuce fresh from the garden; dried pea, jarred beetroot. Tumeke!

                Hey Janet, it's great what you wrote.


                • Robert Guyton

                  I've a friend, Mista Smokey, just now returned from Lewis and Harris. There's an island! Have you read Soul And Soil by Alastair McIntosh? He walked the island as a pilgrimage and has much to say about its qualities. 

                  You've been there? There are stones…

                  • I did a looksee about the tiny islands around the UK (some of them) just curious as to how Brexit would affect them.   Came on Orkney and was impressed by how feisty they are and innovative.

                • Robert Guyton

                  On whales, I spent an evening with Ramari Stewart recently. Her stories are remarkable and if you ever get the chance to talk with her…


                  Maori Television played the film sometime back. If you're able to find it, please watch it. He tohunga tohora ia!

  3. The three sisters of Fame.   A new book about Chinese sisters who were uniquely powerful.   An interesting story and interview on Radionz. https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/2018718496/jung-chang-i-still-have-a-tremendous-optimism-for-china

    11:05 Jung Chang: 'I still have a tremendous optimism for China'

    Chinese-born British writer Jung Chang's books have been translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 15 million copies outside mainland China, where they are banned. Her new book, Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister, documents the dominant roles the Song sisters played in 20th-century Chinese life. She joins the show to discuss her latest book and why she still remains optimistic about the future of her homeland.

    Author Jung Chang

    Author Jung Chang Photo: Supplied

  4. Terry Pratchett has things to say that are thoughtful and clever about most things.

    I like this interview with him mingled with images from the Going Postal filming.

    Terry says that his chief character Moist von Lipwig’s skills as a swindler could be turned to the benefit of all as a business man.

    He muses on thinking about tearing businesses down.
    And later he says he thinks we should know where we have been because if you don’t you don’t know where you are going. etc.

    There is an earlier version of this below that I managed to lose and now it has turned up too late! Enjoy.

  5. I don't understand how my system works any more.    I had just finished a comment and pressed a wrong key somewhere and it just vanished and the back arrow doesn't produce it again.   The redo/undo arrow doesn't do so either.    Where oh where – in the olde days you didn't have to keep learning how to use something basic.    Your car started the same way each time. The lights turned on when you put the switch down, unless you had a two-way, etc.   I will have to look deep into the heart of Firefox help for info – there is something called Screen Shots, but I need permanent save as I get if I am working on Compose in GMail.  

    So I will start again.   Sadly as I want to be somewhere else right now.

    Robert – Christmas is coming.   I thought it would be good to get bits out of How to Get There and publish them as a Pthing.   With a nice cover so people can run them off, perhaps as prezzies with a packet of bee friendly seeds.   I would work on it under guidance.   Is anyone else willing?   It would be good to see something physical emerge from the millions of words put here.   And such useful words from How To… and cheering and hopeful.

    • Robert – sometime when you have time to see and read this, what do you say re the above as a small physical collection with a green and hopeful spirit for Christmas.    Any others with creative ideas and opinions?

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