An Ecology of Everything:
Plants, Folklore, The climate and Love
This is super natural territory - a wild space of abandonment and industrial retreat – it’s a fertile island, with edges of impenetrable scrub, entanglements of bramble, bracken, blackthorn and bog ring fenced by agri-culture and infra-structure. Within its boundaries and left alone matter has quickly re-aligned, settling in mycelium-like – earth’s organisms’ quietly massing, seeking attachment, expansion, fruition with relentless creative energy.
We’re drawn here too, tracking a yearning to connect with what’s left of the natural – our feral roots – trampling over civilized myths as we pass the gate stile and open our hearts to the wood’s aliveness. We cross a threshold and enter a place as exotic as the past, a shadowy interior of moist air dense with the smell of life, decay, and millions of fungal spores.
We follow a trail to a corridor of pine trees where dead brown needles deaden sound. As we walk, we sense a communion - every thing we see touches the back of our eye, sound waves touch ear drum, moss-soaked stone touches skin. Noticing becomes being noticed.
Wetness flows to the tarn in a clearing – a gouged basin edged with sedges, reeds, rushes, marsh marigolds and watermint in spring. Philosopher Gaston Bachelard said ‘water transforms our mirror image into nature’so we dissolve as we wade into the cold water in our minds. We forage for leaves for tea: pine needles, cleavers, meadowsweet, wild strawberry, blackberry, and drink in the present. We’re surprised at how nourished we feel. There’s magic here - a visceral, tribal thrum as we whisper to jelly ears and weave juncus spirals.
We’ve witnessed the seasons pass; storms that altered the lie of the land, trunks tumbling like skittles and mists from the moors and winds that swept in off the bay, ripping the clouds to let the blue through and a wave of heat that lasted until autumn. Time briefly tethered we watched the fugitive palette of the landscape shift from greys to browns to greens to reds and every possible version in-between. A year in the life of the woods when everything was changing.
Biologist Andreas Weber says ‘the world is not an aggregation of things, but rather a symphony of relationships between participants altered by interaction: a necessarily erotic occurrence’. You, me, the woods, life, matter, every atom part of an inter-connected ecology of love –
the potentiality of being rippling out into the universe.
 Gaston Bachelard, ‘’eau et les reves: essays sur l’imagination de le matière, 1989
 Andreas Weber, Matter and Desire, 2014
Images by Sam Wallis
A colour-coded textile graph reflecting temperature data recorded near Carnforth over a ten year period (2012-22) by environmental scientist, Dr. Martin Lord. The longer grey rags representing months where the temperature measured 31 degrees Celsius or above.
A series of foraging events in 2022.
Capsule natural inks
Ink blots on paper
Calling stick (call to action)