As my Chorlton Meadows project grows I find a new quality to it. The theme here is place in nature, the subtext is how so called civilization is contrary. We strut and drink and eat and fight and argue, forgetting the backdrop. Nature is the backdrop. By nature I mean not only trees, birds and flowers, but the wider ineffable universe.
The other quality is stillness. Stillness is both relative to movement and absolute. The softest thing overcomes the hardest thing, Taoists say, using water as a symbol. You see this in the mountains where rivers carve out beautiful sculptural paths through rock. You see it with stillness too. Stillness overcomes movement. Some martial arts develop this to a high degree. Jeet Kune Do, and its principle of interception, requires the stillness of a Western fencer seeking an opening. You watch, see it, move, faster and more strategically than your opponent. You find the same idea in the Tai Chi Classics. Japanese Aikido develops the idea philosophically, using centrifugal stillness in practice.
When I walk the mountains my agitated mind becomes less so. Perspective changes, geographically and psychologically. My experience at the Mersey Valley, Chorlton Meadows and Chorlton Ees in particular, is not the same. As I walk here, taking this photograph, I hear the motorway behind me. Thirty minutes later I’m in my car driving Manchester streets. I find this picture very beautiful because it amplifies the feeling of stillness.
Saturday January 10, 2015