Peter van Straten Art by Peter van Straten


A year ago, in preparation for a drawing class at the Freewheeling Festival I gave some thought to the absurdity of the word “nature” which, so named, becomes a Thing? Place? Phenomenon? That we stand apart from. When in fact we are no less fruits of this planet, than are pine cones or wombats. Or, as Alan Watts so beautifully put it: “Just as the tree apples, so does the earth people.” And yet the kind of awareness that creates language by definition creates what one might call “spectator awareness.” Whereas to strip the inverted commas off “nature” and truly re-be as a fruit of this planet requires a fundamental shift in consciousness away from language and back into that profound mysteriousness which those who have felt it know. At the moment many of us are living with what are probably the highest levels of guilt that human beings have ever lived with, perpetrating untold ecological horrors by merely existing. And then I see a chair, growing tendril for tendril out of the bombed earth, and the only creature – other than a domestic cat – that would know a chair when it saw one, is a human being