'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Saturday, 18 October 2008

The simple life

About 3 decades ago I was on a course and we were given a box of pastels and some paper and told to have a play.  I sat there wondering what I could draw.  Then I remembered getting the cows in and how the sky looks in the early morning when the horizon is just colouring up, the grass is changing from black to grey-green, and the stars are fading.  I did a little piece and wrote on it with gold pastel.  The words were, at the time, meant to be a playful look at how sometimes, even to me in a setting of the 21st century,  the dark night can seem a simple, primitive place.  The words read:  "The sky is a dome and the earth is flat and the stars are holes."

I still do feel that earthy simplicity sometimes, and imagine my lineage stretching back to my stone-age ancestors...


  1. I know what you mean Katherine. At times like those - the accoutrements of modern life can seem irrelevant as we sense a stronger, more ancient connection with our planet.

  2. Exactly YP! And, for me, it almost amounts to a yearning. And involves the lime green of spring, the bite of snow in the air, birth, cooking, gathering, planting, skins and furs and... death... not as a thing to be feared but as a natural, if regrettable, consequence...
    The natural consequence of laziness should be (motivating) hunger.
    The natural consequence of poor social skills should be temporary ostracism.
    The natural consequence of planning and cooperation should be a full stomach and leisure.


    I just thought all that up. Thank you for your comment that got me thinking!

  3. It is a fact that when we gave up our nomadic lifestyles and started sleeping at night with a roof over our heads we cut ourselves off from so much of the natural world and a sense of our place in the order of things - I find a wonderful antidote for human hubris is to view the billions of stars of the milky way on a clear night.

    Your primeval dawn reminds me of one depicting the birth of Narnia (In, I think "The Magician's Nephew") all thats missing is Aslan breathing it into existence.

    Great post.

  4. It does look Narnian, doesn't it?

    It's beautiful in its simplicity, and I know exactly what you mean. There have been times when I was out with the dogs that I've found myself in a remote place, all alone except for bird and insect song, and I've suddenly felt the weight of the Earth under me and the vastness of the skies above.

    In those moments, I feel truly connected to the 'universal' (call it Divine, if you wish), and to our little planet. And for that alone, I'm so glad we have dogs, because we are not farmers, or workers in the open air, and it needed that to get me out there to experience such things. :)

  5. Quite marvellous - deceptively simple, and highly evocative.


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