December 1

Going to Ground

by jason

193  comments

As the days shrink down to their bare minimum over the coming weeks, and dark nights stretch long black wings across the land I find it easy to stay inside.

After all there’s always so much to ‘do’, so much to read, and then there’s the inviting wood burner to keep me enchanted during this season of double evenings.

Regardless, I do my best to show up for the outside world, knowing that’s where the bones of me want to be. Out there I’ll be reminded of the elasticity of time, the malleability of space and the grace of the stories of the land.

When life gets hectic, I need to knuckle down, grab my jacket and take time out. It’s only by going to ground in this way that I can clearly see the wood through the skeletal trees of the encroaching winter. What is it about the cold breath of a meadow, the mud scent of a river bank or the ominous presence of the moor that nurtures us so? Maybe it’s because we were made out there, in the wilder places. Perhaps four walls are not a good fit for a human after all.

Didn’t Kalhil Gibran suggest that ‘the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play with your hair’? Maybe my lockdown locks need to feel the chill fingers of the breeze, maybe my feet are calling for the kiss of cold wet moss.

This modern, tame, civilised life can tease us otherwise, but yes, life really is all about the outdoors. And when we really, truly can’t get out perhaps a picture, a film or a piece of poetic prose that speaks eloquently of the love of the land can become a good stand in and go some way to filling our yearning hearts with the sense of green.
The ground, no matter how cold right now, has words for us.

Often I’m asked how to ‘ground’ oneself and I’ve done my best to muse and contemplate on the best thoughts I can muster. But the clue is in the name, surely. Ground. Maybe the best way to ground is to be on the ground, not the floor. To have a skin to skin affair with the land. To let nature have her beautiful way with us. Sole to soul.

As the lights go out on this difficult year and the days retreat into the den with the foxes I’m doing my best to tip my hat to the bruise coloured skies and the dank blonde moor grasses.

To quote another famous countryman, John Muir, ‘I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.'


I've spent some time creating a film recently. Going to Ground was the title that the boulders whispered to me from the lonely landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales. I offer it to you here in the hope that it may bless you with the touch of nature. Do let me know what you think of it.

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  1. Wow amazing film Jason. The rock formations like sleeping animals in the landscape, Throws focus on our ancestral home in Mother Earth, and all that she provides for our needs, physical and spiritual.

  2. Loved this expressive filming and such powerful music captivating this wonderous land and nature , reminding us of its timeless ability to nurture the soul .

  3. Thank you Jason, for this blog. We can often feel 'lost' at this time of year. You are right … the answer is to go outside, ground yourself.

    1. Thank you Naomi. It was a real pleasure to put together. I’m busy working on the Winter Solstice one now for our online gathering on the 21st!

  4. So beautiful Jason. How do u film such vast areas, by Glider of Drone? Fascinating! Thank you for sharing ur talent & the beautiful landscape x

    1. Thank you Fiona. I use a small drone called a Mavic Air 2, well mine is called Merlin because it flies like a small hawk and works its magic! We are currently working on another video for the Winter Solstice Celebration which you’ll be able to watch later this month.

  5. Beautiful! Thank you, Jason. The winter has a wonderful splendour of its own. I'm out walking locally making the most of the bare ash trees while they are still standing, taking photographs of many of them; so many here in the Staffordshire Moorlands already dead and dying. How desolate the landscape is going to be without them. I live near Ashbourne – the stream where the ash trees grow. Well, we'll still have the stream… So sad.

    1. Thank you Lindsay. Yes, the loss of the Ash weighs heavily on us doesn’t it and it’s fitting to honour them as we can while they still remain. In nature’s usual manner another species will step up to fill the gap but our land and biodiversity will be irrevocably altered as a result of this man induced loss.

  6. Jason that is such a fabulous film, showing the very bones of the Earth, scraped bare, sculpted by wind and water. Loved how it started with the sound of the wind. Did i see a bear in the cave? I think I did.. Liked the music and the editing..amazing the Full Moon at the end with that rolling bank of clouds!!You are so right about us belonging outside…sole to soul I like that one!!!!!
    couldundefined should these Dales have trees returned to it do you think, once sheep farming stops being subsidised? ? They grow in the raw limestone of our Derbyshire quarries…but of course the weather is a lot tougher up there..

    Thanks for a brilliant and earthy treat Jason you are a genius photographer.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments Rosemary, and yes, you did see a bear briefly in the heart of Victoria Cavern. Of course it wasn’t really there but I wanted to pay homage to the thought of going to ground and hibernation and what better than a bear to catch that spirit. I sourced the clip online from another film maker. With regard to the return of trees to the Dales, that’s a tough one to answer. I love the approach of the farmer in the book Wilding who just let their land go to nature with virtually no management or interference and the place is fast becoming wilderness. So I think the Dales will know what’s right for them and, given time and space, will become precisely what they need to be. It’ll be good to get back to nature, and let the landscape heal.

  7. The majesty of the land is truly timeless. Such strength and hope is bound up in the terrain itself. A sense for me of the unending peace that beams out at you from every pore of the ground. The setting will endure long after we as a transient race have departed this earth plane. May the land continue to be our salvation until the end of time. We owe everything to the land, it nurtures us, and importantly feeds us both food to nourish and food to nourish the soul, definitely needed during this time of uncertainty and sadness.

    Brilliant film you captured a certain essence of the land you portray in your moving image of life in all its diversity.

    All the best Jason

    1. Thank you for your comment here Alexander. Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with your sentiments here and feel renewed every time I step out and spend quality time with the land. Best wishes.

  8. Absolutely stunning video. Musical track just perfect. Love the use of the drone to get footage. I liked the emerging from the cave towards the end of the video emerging from darkness into light. Well done

    1. Thank you Nigel. Yes the drone really does save the day for landscape videos and comes in really useful for low level shots too as it invokes a great sense of movement over the land.

  9. Thank you. The full moon ceremony, drumming journey, the video ..what can I say? All so very special. Words somehow diminish the magik evoked on such a night. A release of emotion on every level which continues every time I watch the video …amazing!

    Thank you

    Sue

  10. It’s beautiful in it wintery skeletal way ..music seemed very fitting and skeletal too .I am also trying to embrace the bruised doom darkness of these winter days on the Pennines and take in the blanker canvas .Yes I’m finding netflix very alluring also and the cosy indoors is so captivating right now and just now allowing myself to sink into it ………thanks for the film

    1. Thank you Rebecca. To sit with winter is to find solace from so much, especially at the moment. As we begin to see and feel the beauty of every season we find ourselves beginning to align with the wheel of the year. Netflix and cosy indoors are great, and all the better after time out feeling truly alive with the wildness of being.

  11. What a splendour. A sight to see, all you encompassed – really touched me! Into the crevices of my soul, feeding nurturing. Land, water, air, trees, and soil. Soul food, for the hungry wanton me, to be fed and grounded by the landscape, the life, the nature that surrounds me, us, we! If we just go out, and be. We will be invited IN to the wonderful synchronicity of all akin! I am deeply humbled by the tiniest of organisms, worms delight. Nourishing, sustaining our soil. Whilst birds fly free, and glide n jive carefree with our magnificent trees. I too love being out, out out. For that is where it’s truly at.

    Much love and heartfelt gratitude for this. Namaste 🙏🏽

    1. Thank you Andrea. Your words gave me much joy and I’ve read them several times. This is the kind of connection that nature wants for us and you sum it up so eloquently. Thank you.

  12. I really enjoyed your film the beautiful landscape made me feel peaceful seeing the rock formations reminded me of a lion and whales so calming the music made me feel relaxed. Seeing the Dale's made me want to run free with the wind blowing through me. Thank you

  13. Stunning – thank you very much Jason. Velvet hills and boulders like beached whales and a beautifully dank, dripping cave. Very atmospheric and special. Peace and blessings <3

  14. Dear Jason,
    Your film moved me enormously. ¡How did you manage to do it? Such beautiful and evocative landscapes and I loved the mystery and the sound track too.
    I lived my first 50 years in Yorkshire, so much of the landscapes very familiar to me and created a sense of deep homesickness for the land I love. Now in Spain and hard to visualise the possibility of returning… but this is a spur. Thank you for your beautiful work. Grounding it is.
    Very best wishes , Rosie.

    1. Thank you Rosie. I had such an easy and lovely time out with the landscapes of Yorkshire. Even the weather seemed to want to give me the best time possible. Hopefully my including a location list at the end of the film helped you recognise some of the places. I think the Norber Erratics and the secret little gorge above Gordale are my favourites at the moment. Best wishes, Jason

  15. To be aware of physical sensation – of our feet on the ground helps anchor us in the moment. This attention is a form of mindfulness and it brings us closer to the wonder and the mystery of being. I think we can bring that sense back indoors and keep it with us when we interact with others. It comes and goes, ebbs and flows, so we make what efforts we can to remember ourselves.

    1. That’s great to hear Emma. The music isn’t to everyone’s taste but that’s just how it is. 🙂 Brilliant to hear your children enjoyed it too. Did they spot the bear I wonder?

  16. So atmospheric, beautifully filmed, and I loved the music. Made me feel I must get up into Yorkshire this coming year. Thankyou for bringing this to us.

  17. I loved this… as much as the last one I saw! Stunningly atmospheric, elemental and immersive. I felt like many animals experiencing this, in air and on the ground… It spoke much without words and brought me goosebumps. Your films, photographs and art are exceptional, Jason! Thank you for sharing this gift with us. x

    1. Thank you for your kind comments Katie. Your thoughts are so reassuring to that part of me which doubts my work. I do enjoy trying to conjure the elemental from my nature connections. x

  18. What a wonderful perspective. Walking you never notice the images and formations quite the same. The rocks have so many faces and forms of animals. If only we knew their stories. It makes me feel as though nature is calling out .

    1. Thank you Ann. The different perspective does indeed real so much doesn’t it. I’m sure that if we take enough time to rocks would share their tales. 🙂

  19. truly beautiful, a strong reminder that even in these dark days nature is still showing her beauty. Thank you, beautifully filmed.

  20. Nice to see the rugged landscape of somewhere that seems so out of reach during this trying time, even though i live in Yorkshire.
    I found some parts difficult to view as the eye doesn't naturally want to follow sideways shots or ones that are close to the ground. Im not a fan of just black shots either, personal taste only. However, that said, the rest was enthralling. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Julie. Yes, not all styles fit with everyone and I’ll try to mix it up a bit in my next films. I’ll bear your thoughts in mind as I’m out working with the landscape.

  21. Such beautiful words and so good to watch this again without the zoom delays. I loved seeing 'my bear' in Victoria Cave and that crawl space we found. I always think the clients and dykes of the limestone pavement look like brains. Then I thought how appropriate that is the head of the earth poking out from the Goddess within.

    1. Thank you Jo. Yes, it’s quite a place and I particularly enjoyed noting how the cave stood out for miles once I had a high viewpoint. Such a special location.

  22. A friend has just shared this with me (11pm) absolutely beautiful and the right thing for me now as hear the rain patter outside. Tomorrow there will be a barefoot moment on a hill or mountain near me in a remote part of North Wales.
    Bless you

    1. Thank you Mike. Wishing you much connection with the land as you connect skin to skin. There’ll be more videos to come as the weeks and months roll on.

  23. Beautiful, thankyou. The film set me yearning for open spaces having been limited to Manchester much of the year.
    However I'm fortunate to have a nature reserve on my doorstep and have been wandering and wondering in these grey days.
    Your words rang so true to me, cosy inside, reluctant to step out into the cold but so enlivened and connected once I do, to other, life, inside myself and beyond myself.

    1. Thank you Lisa. It really doesn’t need to take long to reset does it. For me, just half an hour without a phone or other distraction, on a lakeside or woodland can sort me out.

  24. The written word was very evocative and conjured up much to reflect on. Enjoyed reading. Will revisit.
    The video was for me spoiled by the soundtrack. Reminding me of time, a clock.
    Could have been paired back to something more bare.
    Just my thoughts.
    Thanks for sharing, your photos are beautiful.

    1. Hi Su. Thank you for your comments here, I’m pleased you enjoyed the piece. The choice of music is always a difficult one and I reviewed over a hundred tracks before settling on ‘Ticking’. For me it evoked the movement of time through the moon cycles, the life of the boulders and the flow of the river. It was a constant reminder of the drum beat throughout the rhythms of the film.

  25. Truly Wonderful Thank you for sharing it has taken me to a place of appreciation both of our Mother Earth and your Generosity and support of both of you with the course work and zoom meeting truly a gift <3

  26. Wonderful video, visuals, sound and very emotive.

    Great Ariel perspective- rooks in flight, water running all four elements
    Evoked.
    And a fifth – that soecial 'Something ' which there many names for
    Thanks

  27. Jason, thank you so much for this wonderful video. It is exactly what I needed. Stunning and magical.

    I'd love to know what camera and drone you use for this.

    Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

    Rosie

    1. Thank you Rosie, I’m glad you enjoyed the video. It’s a fantastic place. I shot using a Canon 90D, a GoPro Max and the DJI Mavic Air 2 for the aerial sequences. And a couple of clips were caught with the Canon 5DSR.

    1. Thank you Libby. It was a pleasure and a privilege to spend time in the hills and valleys. I’m pleased you found it nurturing.

  28. Jason, the powerful imagery that introduced your blog is totally awesome and inspiring but so too is your use of language, poetic and straight from the soul. Like an artist's brush skilfully filling my mind with pictures. Really beautiful.

    The video, well, for an instant, it gave me wings to see the majesty of the landscape and ears to hear its heartbeat. What a joyful pleasure to share.

    I loved the rocks near the beginning. They looked like ancient dinosaurs laying down to sleep. I will watch it again.

    1. Thank you Marion. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and fully immersed in the writing and the video. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this way.

  29. This is such a beautiful journey. It's so special to feel like you're really flying over that beautiful earth without this sometimes cumbersome earthly body. The study of limestone pavement reminds me how mindful and totally engaged with the ground you need to be there. And the crows…..for me they are an ever present spirit.
    Thankyou for capturing and sharing this beauty of nature.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts here Anne. Yes, it was so slippery on those rocks I couldn’t walk on them but the overhead view caught the sense of the place for me. Crows seem to own so many ancient places don’t they.

    1. Thank you Jennifer. I was quite apprehensive about crawling into that cave for the ending sequence but it was worth getting wet for!

  30. Thank you for sharing. I loved the patterns in the limestone pavement. The flight scenes actually gave me more of a sense of vertigo at some points than grounding but were powerful in their own way. I also enjoyed the bear's eye view of the cave. What a fantastic journey!

    1. Thank you Lorna. Yes, I think sometimes a flash of the opposite can strengthen the sense of grounding. Glad you enjoyed the journey.

  31. Wow, stunning, thank you so much, very thought provoking 💝
    My thought as i was watching….. the boulders aren't lonely, it's just that they see the loneliness in us whilst we remain separated from themundefinedmother earthundefinedsource. Resonates with me anyway.
    Thank you again 💝

  32. This is wonderful. Beautiful rugged, wild landscape. It’s so clever. I’m sure it took a lot of skill to produce it. I love the way you have with words too, even the music was appropriate. Thank you for sharing.

  33. The beauty of this video leaves me speechless … and I feel one with mother earth … with nature and with the cosmos …

    THANK YOU!

  34. A real sense of timelessness with this ancient landscape. Right on point with the core message of your blog. Thanks Jason- stunning. I'm certainly making the most of my local parks. Coastline and nature reserves. Feeling a real deep connection.

  35. Thank you so much Jason, I did fly with you and crawled with you through the cave, and out again. A bit windy and a bit wet, but wow, what an experience! I watched it on MOnday on my mob, now on the computer, in full screen.
    Thank you both also for the full moon celebration and sharing of your knowledge and wisdom. And a special thanks to you Jason for the drum healing. Will never forget that. (also had the best night's sleep despite full moon!)
    Veronika x

    1. This is all so good to hear Veronika. Thank you. It was great to have you along on the cave journey and for the drum healing too. x

  36. Hi Jason and Nicola,

    This is beautiful. Lovely nature and music. Every season has its own magical energy.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

  37. I love your comments above. On a walk today, the bird song, sky and some flowers seemed to be more prominent.
    Sitting on my front door step in th sun also gives a link to nature.

    1. Thank you Freda. Yes, we just need to take a little time and offer some deeper attention don’t we, and nature comes to meet us.

  38. Hello Jason & Nicola
    Absolutely stunning images very powerful … thx you for sharing

    I was privileged to be on session on Monday night my husband and I watched together
    it was our first experience of Drumming and it was amazing
    Totally resonated on all levels

    I can honestly say I never had that experience of totally grounded before
    Thx you 💖🙏🏻💖

  39. Thank you Jason for making this film and sharing it with us. What an amazing island we live on with such varied landscapes . I loved seeing the stony, boney outcrops popping through the green quilt and the sparkling rivers cutting their way through the land. And the bird vision of it that space is beautiful. So lovely to see bear too. Thank you again. Looking forward to your next production.

  40. I watched the video on the zoom call was lovely. But i must say your words were very inspirational, off for a walk in nature on my crutches to see the birds and colours of the leaves down the lanes where i live. I need to feel alive again and nature is certainly the place for that. Thank you for sharing with me. X

  41. That was amazing. Such beautiful landscape and you captured the rawness and movement of the countryside so well. I actually felt like I was Bear coming out of her cave at the end. Thank you 🙂

  42. Thankyou Jason for taking such time and care to craft this beautiful video for us. It is so lovely to be taken to these deep wild places when we can’t get there physically. Were you using a drone? Fascinating how our modern technology gives us these ‘shamanic’ experiences of flying over the land , seeing the ‘impossible’ from the point of view of a human body . I could feel my inner child enjoying that feeling of wonder and delight.
    I particularly appreciated the journey along the river, sensing the rushing of the water, and the going into and out of the caves. Poetic , moving, rewilding my being.
    Thankyou.

    1. Thank you for your comment Frances. I really enjoy the immersive sense that flight gives and yes, I do use a small drone very carefully and respectfully to explore more experiences that nature and technology afford. With landscape the sense of movement this gives is, for me, a key to an engaging film.

  43. Stunning, Jason. I love the eagles eye view of the landscape & then how our ancestors would have seen it when they came out from their underground when they stepped out from the safety of the cave. I would love to use your videos to help people with stress & mental health issues & I am working out a way that we could use you videos at the Monastery when we relaunch next year. Would you be up for that?
    Lots of love to both of You xxx

    1. Thank you for your comment Gill, I’m very pleased you enjoyed the film. I’m sure that your ideas are things we could discuss at some point in the future when opportunity opens up for me to explore.

  44. I love to watch your videos, they are beautiful. It just goes to show us what a beautiful world we live in

    I haven’t been with you and Nicola for long, it’s only within the past few months that I found myself following this way of life.
    Before this I was bringing up five children and working hard, then twelve years ago I found I had the gift of mediumship and my life completely changed, I am now a cold case medium. I am so grateful that I found my purpose in life and you and Nicola just make me realize how beautiful the world is. I am now 64 years old and I only wish that I was 30 years younger following the life that I love.

    Thank you to you both 🙏

    1. Thank you for your comment Karen. I know exactly what you mean about wishing you were 30 years younger. I turned 60 last month but have come to realise that I wasn’t ready to embrace this life until recently. Every experience of my life up to now has been honing my outlook.

  45. I loved this film, feeling quite emotional at the realisation that before the earliest human aviators, the only creatures to see these views would have been the birds or the air and, I believe, angels or other spirit forms. I feel privileged to have had the chance to see the wonders of our landscape from above in this way. Thank you, Jason. You are truly gifted, and have a generous soul.

    1. I’m pleased you enjoyed it Betty, thank you for taking the time to comment here. I too enjoy the airborne view that modern camera technology affords us.

  46. The rocks like sleeping ancestors lie,
    Amongst the velvet green mountains high.
    The trees defy their dress, as winter bids us less.
    The cold persists the air holds mist,
    While winter does it’s duty until the spring returns and the empty branches doth kiss.

    1. Thank you so much for a wonderful ceremony and healing for the full moon. Also the treat of your Visio to continue enjoying.

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