Nature

Ah spring!

Ah spring! Drawing Luke Hockley.

Ah spring! Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Ah spring!

You are an utter joy and a bit of a pain in the arse.

The light! Oh, the light. The bursting forth or plants, the warmth creeping into the days…

And the unannounced snap back cold and the pollen, oh yes, the pollen that plays havoc with my head.

On balance, given the miracle of antihistamines, I’d have to give spring the thumbs up.

Mainly because I love watching the jasmine come to life.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,378

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What is fire?

What is fire? Drawing Luke Hockley.

What is fire? Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

It burns.

Uncontainable unless it’s contained.

Painful if it hits the skin.

Mesmerising.

Seductive and comforting.

Terrifying.

Totally overwhelmingly terrifying.

Intense.

Wood become air.

How? How does it become air?

What is fire?

Love

Luke

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Day 1,356

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A wood fire.

A wood fire. Drawing Luke Hockley.

A wood fire. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

After several days the warmth starts to spread into the bricks and deep into the stone.

This warmth makes the cottage cosy.

Even though it is next to nothing degrees outside.

A wood fire.

It’s like a hot water bottle for a house.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,355

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Splitting wood.

Splitting wood. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Splitting wood. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I enjoy learning new skills.

When I split wood, which is something I have been slowly learning how to do over several years, I’ve noticed some things.

One moment it’s like magic. A clean split. Neat. Destiny.

Another moment it’s like a person awkwardly riding a horse. Thudding, jolting, jarring. An out of rhythm ricochet.

I watch what I’m doing and try to and work it out.

I can blame the wood, its shape and texture and temperature and age and…

It’s not the wood.

And there’s nothing wrong with my wood splitter.

As I go about this little experiment, I uncover small clues.

Today I found two things of interest.

When I swing the log splitter behind my back and then go to pull it forwards up and over my head I have been trying to use my left hand too much to get the axe moving. It caused my left wrist to get sore (which is why I was noticing it)…so I tried getting the forward swing going with my right hand. The extra force and strength I felt was incredible. Whole body powerful.

If the magic happens, that extra force is incredible…if not then the ricochet is almost comical. I often look around to see if the birds are laughing at me.

The other thing I noticed is that I find it very hard to hit the wood exactly where I intend to hit the wood. Sometimes I am close, sometimes I am ridiculously nowhere near my intended aim.

My theory is that you hit where you are looking, that when the visual relationship with the impact point is clear that the body does all this amazing calculation to make connection with that point. If this is correct I don’t have to try harder to hit the spot, I just have to more clearly pay attention to my target.

What I noticed is that I am paying very careful attention to this spot when I get ready and swing the axe. And that it feels like I am watching this spot for as long as I possibly can…but then, as I repeated and repeated the action, I began to notice that as the log splitter hit the wood (or was about to) I let my attention (not just my vision, my intention) drift away from that spot I had chosen.

I tried holding my attention to that spot (even if I couldn’t see it) until the axe had finished moving.

Incredible. Like a laser. Not always exactly on the spot. So much closer and the hit was so much cleaner.

I find all this fascinating.

I don’t know why.

I just do.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,354

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I am a weary river.

I am a weary river. Drawing Luke Hockley.

I am a weary river. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

I am a weary river.

Travelling to the sea.

Pulled skyward with a busy mind.

Unearthed.

Unanchored.

Unmoored.

A deep breath finds my toes in the silt sand of the river.

My feet, legs, pelvis, torso, body arrives.

The weight of distraction flows around me.

Arrived.

Here.

Love

Luke.

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Day 1,343

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Nothing left to give…?

Nothing left to give…? Drawing Luke Hockley.

Nothing left to give…? Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

One day, quite a few years ago, I was sitting on the step to our bungalow in our falling apart rental in Northcote enjoying a bit of sun when our cat, Mamma - who died a few years ago, came up and started rubbing against my legs.

My endless jar of honey had trained her to be brushed at the back step with a special brush…and she loved it. So, she was pretty insistent.

I was very frustrated.

I couldn’t be bothered.

I was tired and a bit over it and just wanted to sit in the sun and recharge.

Later that day, when my endless jar of honey arrived home, I complained to him about all this…

“She just kept insisting that I pat her…and I just couldn’t. I just didn’t have anything to give her!”

He looked at me, patiently and said…

“Maybe it’s not about what you’ve got to give her…”

Ahhh….of course.

This lesson, that I am deeply energised by giving what I have to other living things, comes back to me again and again.

One more reason to be grateful for the endless jar of honey in my life.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,305

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Cold air.

Cold air. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Cold air. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

The air this morning has that ‘just blown off the snowy mountains’ feel to it.

And I haven’t even been outside yet.

Winter is here. It seemed to take a while arrive this year.

I couldn’t get myself out of bed this morning and yesterday I didn’t feel like exercising. It can be hard to get moving when it is this chilly.

I did, however, get going. I went for a run in the cold air yesterday and, of course, it was great.

A fresh blast to get the day moving.

Now I just have to get myself off the couch and out of the house.

No worries!

Love

Luke

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Day 1,289

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Some wood.

Some wood. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Some wood. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

Some wood burns much hotter than other wood.

How would you ever know that?

Unless you had a wood fire that you relied on for your warmth.

The stringy bark kind of wood doesn’t burn that well.

Redgum is the ideal wood, apparently…but we don’t have that on our property.

We’ve got a wood called Redbox, and that's a keeper that one.

It’ll burn long and hot.

Which is very good for making a house full of visitors feel warm and cosy.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,279

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A walk along the creek.

A walk along the creek. Drawing Luke Hockley

A walk along the creek. Drawing Luke Hockley

Dear Self,

I went for a walk yesterday along Merri creek with a dear friend of mine.

We had some things to talk about, which we did.

There was a moment where we stood under a bridge and played with how the sound reverberated off the massive bluestone arch.

This incidental, childlike playfulness is the stuff of magic.

When these experiences are missing, when a friendship becomes purely about some project or outcome or a working relationship…or much worse when it becomes just about working out conflict or having difficult conversations, then the relationship lacks the reserves to keep itself going.

I find it can be so easy to let these things slip, or not make the time and space for them to happen. They seem like ‘nothing time’, finding time to be bored together so that something light and curious emerges.

In my experience these spaces are where friendship is built.

Which is the most important time of all.

Love

Luke

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Day 1,261

Show your support for Dear Self by becoming a monthly supporter of my work or by buying some stamp money. Your support means I can keep doing the things I do to make the world a better place.

My body is a koan.

My body is a koan. Drawing Luke Hockley.

My body is a koan. Drawing Luke Hockley.

Dear Self,

My body is a koan, a puzzle, a riddle.

It’s a question that presents many possible solutions, some of which are helpful, some are self-limiting and some…well, their outcome is a mystery.

Returning to the koan every day with the intention that it is the asking of the question and the wondering about the solution that is as useful to me as solving the riddle.

Solving the riddle is great, but we don’t always get that luxury, or it can take quite some time.

So being in the question that I am in. Curious. Kind. Playful and tenacious.

That’s what it’s all about.

Which is easy to remember when I’ve solved a puzzle and very challenging to keep in focus when I haven’t!

Love

Luke

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Day 1,169

Show your support for Dear Self by becoming a monthly supporter of my work or by buying some stamp money. Your support means I can keep doing the things I do to make the world a better place.