December 14, 2009 at 9:18 am | Posted in Mind, Nature, People, Sight, Society | 15 Comments
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Is the ivy malicious? Is the tree afraid?

Consider the photo above. Does it look to you as if the ivy has mounted a full-scale assault on this tree?

I was stopped in my tracks by this gripping scene. Immediately my mind began anthropomorphizing the ‘combatants’.

The ivy was evil. The tree was terrified. It was like the old eagle/snake taxidermy cliché – played out in vegetation.

See the tendrils following the channels in the bark?
Is this not evidence of intent?

Closer inspection confirmed my view that the ivy knew exactly what it was doing. And meant business.

Yet how could an Aspie, hopeless at discerning even the most obvious social signals from humans, pretend to know the mind and will of a creeper?

Is it because I’m socially dysfunctional that I ‘lower my sights’ to relate with simpler organisms? Or is this just an overheated imagination gone crazy?

Here’s how the tree sees it:

Scary? No?

But trees can’t ‘see’, can they? And creepers aren’t really evil, are they?

Are we absolutely sure?

This scares the crap out of me.
Imagine how the tree feels!

From trees to flies to spiders to weeds. I invest every living thing I see with a soul and a mind.

Even cars, fridges and VCRs have given me pause for thought over the years.

What I’d really like to know is whether this is an Asperger thing or something else.

To this end, I warmly welcome your frank comments.


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  1. I don’t think it is an Asperger thing because I personally would imagine those things myself. But perhaps because you can’t easily distinguish between what we consider “relevant” or “irrelevant” signs, it jumps put at you more. Even so-called “normal” people answer to an impossible wide palette of behavior. I am supposed to have a vivid imagination; people with Aspergers are, I believe, categorized as lacking imagination – so where does that leave the two of us?
    All the best Frauke

    • Thank you, Frauke. It is indeed a tangled web we inhabit. With no chance of unravelling it myself, I rely on comments like yours to get perspective. Many thanks indeed for your kind contribution. 🙂

  2. I practise animism and shamanism as part of life, and I find that it is very integrative. I was led into it by a sense of hopelessness in my relationships with people. My personal feeling is that animism is fundamental to human nature, and is a very ancient way to healing the soul. The key is the use of imagination in a reverent and deep sense. The imagination should be reclaimed as a way of knowing, I feel. Great pictures! Nature, strangling though growth. Or growing through strangling…?

    • Many thanks for your fascinating and encouraging comment, Dreamburo. I greatly appreciate your insight and may well look further than the dictionary for more knowledge of animism and shamanism. Sounds like they have a lot going for them! I’m so pleased you like the photos. Best regards, AS. 🙂

  3. Great to hear from you, Stephen!

    This club is open to all polite folk who wish to ask, answer, posit or report.

    That gives you a lifetime membership!

    The more lights we bring to bear on this asperger thing, the clearer we’ll see it.

    I’m particularly keen to find the seam between me and the rest of humanity, in the hope I may have more in common with others than hitherto thought.

    So please fire away! Best regards, AS. 🙂

  4. What a totally wonderful blog you have! I have just read all the posts tagged in humour and compulsions and now have a big grin on my face as I enjoy the utter pleasure of another funny aspie mind. (Because I am also an aspie) I invest everything with a soul and a mind and I feel much more normal and content when I am interacting with cats, dogs, birds, trees, sea, clouds etc than I do when I am interacting with human beings. Yes, ivy is a terror, but food for bees so perhaps a necessary evil. Still I get quite uptight when I see good old trees being strangled by ivy. It makes me really cross with the farmer/woodsman. Lichen or moss can stop me dead in my tracks. My thing is rain and ice. I make art with these things and I can tell you in great detail the difference between June rain and December rain according to the size and frequency of the drops. But I won’t.

    • Hello there! I’m thrilled to bits you enjoyed so many posts. Making others smile is a golden measure of this blog’s success. It’s truly wonderful to come across a kindred mind. And don’t get me started on lichen! I’d LOVE to know more about your art. And I’m equally fascinated by your differentiation of rain. I’ve never heard of such a thing! So, if you’ve the time and inclination, know that you can NEVER say to much in this forum. And if you don’t, know also that I’m deeply grateful for your wonderful comment. Kind regards, P. 🙂

  5. … And did somebody mention MOSS?! 🙂

  6. Oh! That moss is wonderful! I used to walk by an eye-height wall with exactly the same species of moss on it, so I turned it into and outdoor art installation and made 5 small signs which read Zen Garden 1 (or 2, 3 etc) and I stuck these to the wall below the moss. But I don’t think anyone ever really noticed them.
    My blog is at this address and some of the most recent ice drawings are posted there. What I do is I go outside with ink and paper and I put the ink on the paper and then either let rain fall on it or, if it is between -5C and -8C, I let the ink freeze and the raindrops or the ice crystals make beautiful marks on the paper. Most ordinary people see images, landscapes etc in these drawings, but I don’t. I just see the wonderful, teeny tiny marks made by the rain or the ice. I could do this exhaustively, and I hope that one day I can get an arts residency that will legitimise my ‘obsession’ and enable me to do these drawings for days at a time. Bliss.
    Oh and I think I may have read every blog post now (‘cos you know, aspie) and I am even happier and smilier 🙂

    • I’m jealous! I’ve always had to get down for my moss. I love your garden idea; I would’ve noticed. 🙂 So pleased to have your link; I’ll study it with interest. I wonder if you’ve heard of His theories are contentious, and I’m not sure I believe, but his book was fascinating. I’m delighted you’ve read all my posts. My stats are going off the screen! Thank you very much. 🙂

  7. Oh and I just found an old image of my moss:picasa

  8. oops: picasa. Sorry

  9. By the way, Susan, may I ask how you found this blog? 🙂

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