As those of you who keep chickens (and other animals) already know, much of humanity is acutely disconnected from the earth, the other creatures that share it with us, and even from the most direct support of all: our own air, water, and food… that fundamental place our senses meet, ingest, and fuse with the world.
It is the place where the world moves through us: into, through, and then out… and makes us possible in the first place. We are made of it, and when we die we merge again. But in some dark, human-devised corners, we have come to believe that to be human is to be separate… to some even, “better than”….
“The Earth does not belong to man; Man belongs to the Earth.” – Chief Seattle
While they are cynically known as trends in society and in commerce, a new awakening has begun… it’s starting: a new hunger for “real” food both organic and local, a new desire to work and understand the land we impact and by extension, a new appreciation of the animals and plants that live there too. We are beginning to question what we are told, to trust our own perceptions and gut feelings… we see now, our intuition is valuable, and not everything needs to be controlled by humanity.
With a population standing at 7.6 billion it can be firmly debated that we are on borrowed time, but the question would still stand in front of us: how do we live personally, ourselves? Deep down, something important has been missing, a connection with the earth that is as old as the mountains themselves. Our own wildness is valuable too, and the earth doesn’t belong to us. We belong to it. We are wild, too.
As individuals we are far more powerful than we believe, and not just with our clever minds. Our hearts, feelings, and ancient, wild instinct give valuable insight too.
My own path has revolved around animals for as long as I can remember. Animals are true to their nature, and they speak directly to us, looking us in the eye, and right in front of us, they show us how it’s done. We with our clannish insecurities and psychical fears are so good at analyzing, rationalization, and denial, we forget to just… pay attention.
I would go even further: Nature itself is God showing us how it’s done. We can tell ourselves all manner of religious stories, but it is undeniable that we live within a physical limitation that was not created by us. Whether by evolutionary geological accident, or whether aliens dropped us off, or whether the whole thing was created by spiritual design isn’t really the point. It doesn’t matter how we got here. (That’s what faith is for.) What matters is what we do with it.
I want my artwork to echo this consciousness. I’m in a flux and I think some changes are afoot.
Speaking of humble, the backyard chicken is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated creatures in this beautiful world of ours. They are sweet, curious, intelligent, and funny. They are truly beautiful and yet offer hilarious interaction as well. They are utterly vulnerable, and yet a hen will fiercely protect her chicks and a rooster will lay down his life for the flock.