A Wild Welcome,
Night River Wood is the online space of James Roberts, whose name is so common that if you searched for him on Google you’d think he is either a rugby player, interior designer or Transformers fan – which he is not. James is a writer and artist.
“The distance between ourselves and the wild is not as great as we’ve been told. A child thinks like an ecosystem, the tendrils of their imagination reaching out into the high clouds and deep earth. They create instinctively – language and song, image and form. A mind growing naturally becomes antlered over time. The poet dances with the deer. If we cease to thrive we need to step back into the flow of our places, beyond the lamplight of the village, to sing again to the ten thousand things.”
“The wild requires few resources, each creature taking only what it needs. Growth comes through a reaching out beyond self, allowing a deep and specific becoming in place, accepting without question the symbiosis of all lives. This is where fulfillment is found.”
“Our function at this time is to learn to step lightly, imagine more deeply, and flow with our places. Let’s watch like the goshawk, listen like the owl, scent like the fox, touch like the dormouse. Let’s sense the world as acutely as we can, and then respond, sing, perhaps softly at first, so the wild ones welcome us – the artist species – back to our place.”
James’s non-fiction book, Two Lights – Walking in Landscapes of Loss and Life, will be published in March 2023 by September Publishing. It explores biodiversity loss through the metaphor of twilight. You can read the short essay, Chorus, which was the source of the book, below.
An account of the search for the wildness left in our world – spanning continents and geological eras, skies and oceans, animals and birds, planets and stars.
“With dizzying acuity and insight Roberts paints a portrait of a life and its landscapes, creating precious connections with wild creatures and places, from swans in the Cambrian Mountains to wolves in the Pacific Northwest. By walking at dawn and dusk, in the two lights of awakening and deepening, through the stripped, windswept hills of Wales, and the jungles and savannahs of Africa, he tries to navigate from a soul-stripping sense of loss towards hope in the future.
In the presence of wild creatures he finds a way back to life.”
James produces one print edition each month.
Using the absolute minimum of materials – a brush, a few drops of ink, a splash of water, and a pinch of salt he attempts to capture the fluidity and movement of wild things, allowing forms to conjure themselves from the faintest outlines – ravens, owls, bears, wolves. This striving for an almost creaturely simplicity searches for grace through creative practice as light on the earth as leaves.
“It starts and ends with seabirds, with the first faint wash of rose-tinted light touching their feathers.”