A curious saying: idiom - not out of the woods yet - not free of difficulty,danger or trouble yet. How did we acquire this expression? How is being in the woods bad? Sarah Maitland suggests in Gossip from the Forest that our geography and history and imagination as a northern european once forest dominated culture has placed the woods into a dark, untamed, wild chaotic corner of our collective imaginations - fuelled not in small part by fairytale and folklore. A place to be feared and aspiring to leave. I have recently found my way into one particular woods - am rarely out of this woods and have no intention of leaving anytime soon..I have made my home here, visiting almost everyday. Always this place offers me something unique and invaluable - flooding my senses, grounding, nourishing, connecting my entire being with all this life living itself around me..
east blean woods (more here...)
“Until recently people could not survive without woodland, but perhaps more surprisingly, woodland flourishes under good human management…This was not the wild wood that had to be “tamed”, but an infinite resource, rich, generous and often mysterious” Gossip from the Forest
I am constantly aware of the amount of life this environment supports - an intricate, thriving, rich and intense ecosystem - vibrant and humming with life, underfoot, overhead, everywhere. I feel connected to this event, invited to the party - I wonder at the variety of lifeforms and their interconnectedness and I wonder what it would look like to record the entire spectrum of this event - to list all lifeforms that make up this particular celebration - and I want to make an inventory of the woods - a creative inventory. Visualized data (Information is Beautiful). I am drawn to mandala-like structures and start to carve tiny print blocks of some of the creatures I know from these woods. ant, bee, blue tit and crow and the sketchbook page is full...how big would a full inventory be.....?
species mandala AlReffell