I stand outside on the street looking into the Hart Club, which is full of the colourful, bold portraits painted by Paul Wright. He portrays his favourite characters from the comedy programmes and soaps he loves. “The work was cheeky and interesting,” says Stephen Wright (no relation) about Paul’s work. They began a creative working relationship, laughter being a key ingredient. “It was a two way experience,” reports Stephen, “Paul helped me to loosen up”. This exhibition has come into being through a collaboration between the Hart Club (who champion neuro diversity in the arts), Submit to Love Studios (part of Headway, a charity working with people who have experienced brain injury), Stephen Wright (working as artist in residence), and Paul Wright (artist with brain injury). Helen who works alongside the artists describes Headway Hackney as having “a Yes! Attitude”. She invites us to think outside our current mindset. “What would it mean for your life if you were very dramatically changed, with loss of self, loss of identity?” I had spent the afternoon with someone struggling to come to terms with exactly that – a sudden change in the entire landscape of their life. “Art practice is a way of living with uncertainty…and turning that into something magical,” says Ben of Headway Hackney. Their inclusive mission with service users is to foster “meaning, the opportunity to be valued, food and love, to have a place in the world; in short, trying to be human.”

Here lies an unpicked harvest. Nature’s bounty falls to the ground for wasps, now drunk on fermented fruit. Even the birds have had their fill. City people too busy or unschooled in nature’s kitchen to plunder fruit trees, let it rot. Trees rely on mammals and birds to eat their fruit. The seeds are designed to be returned to the ground in a neat parcel of manure to assist propagation. My poo – it’s fertilising power untapped – flushes from sewer to pipe under the city until it reaches sewage treatment works then canal or river before it flows down to the sea. The majority of crab apple seeds will rot and be swept

Tony, Pan-like with his goat legs and horns dances on the beach. Our feet crunch on the stones to the beat. The elements put on a show as the sun sets. Big wide sky swirls above us blue, pink and gold like a lava lamp. The sea is still, coated with a petrol blue lacquer. The pier is crusted with jewel bright lights, which melt colour into the sea as the sky darkens. We dance around a fire, watching the elemental performance. The flames breathe in the light salt air and bless us with wood smoke. Tess plays a track which speaks to me. I suck on spaciousness, loosen my limbs, feel gratitude for the beating of my heart.

After a month of rain and grey sky draped like a blanket over everything, mushrooms are popping up. Stems grow like teenagers’ legs in a growth spurt when you’re not looking; they appear as adults overnight. Firm fragile fungal flesh a paradox of sturdy enough to break through soil, yet soft enough to fracture on touch. Beneath the grass a hidden world of mycelium grows and spreads, fertile soil for nature’s opportunists. I lie to squint at delicate gills of warm neutral tones. I stop to peer under bushes, examine small canopies. I notice teeth marks at the edge of one fleshy mushroom and wonder who the nibbler was.

Angry Dan’s bright and cheerful rainbow mural has been defaced by someone who sees Ikea in the colours yellow and blue. I want to reclaim them for sky, sun and sand. It made me realise how much I cherished approaching the rainbow as I walked down the path. To me it says “Hello!” queer or otherwise, with a nod to the variable nature of the weather. This morning it made me consider the fundamental nature of my queer identity. People who don’t know me well often assume that I am heterosexual. I notice how my nature – invisible for many years despite being called ‘Queero’ at primary school – is glad to be seen. Angry Dan – artist and activist also uses painted rainbows and clouds in his ‘blue dot’ series to remind us of the finite resources on this small blue planet.

Jamie Wheal’s brilliant and erudite proposition is that in the post modern, industrialised west we are suffering a “collapse of meaning”. He identifies a necessary collective ‘griefgasm’ (Bilal’s term), to belch out our trauma. “Our ability to be of service is in direct proportion to our ability to digest our grief”. He articulates a very convincing synthesis of how to bring about change for the many not the few – “it needs to be all of us, or none of us”. He presents a diagram of the components of collective transformation. The crux is awakening through both ecstatic practice, through cathartic experience, yet connected and grounded in community. His shiny appearance, “super sexy, gee wizz” language is designed to get the attention of the well groomed smart casual movers and shakers in the audience. “How to blow your mind with household substances – respiration, embodiment, music, sexuality and substances…stacked together to bio-hack consciousness” is the programme. I share his passion to ignite courage, witness his eyes brim, and am already on board with most of what he espouses. He brings together strands to inspire “don’t curse the darkness, light a fire”(Watkinson). I would also love to hear his words weaving in circle with others – with women and people of colour. Here he stands with Yoms and June prefiguring my wish.
Recapture the Rapture: Rethinking God, Sex and Death in a World That’s Lost Its Mind. Talk by Jamie Wheel.

On the brow of the hill where the view is attention seeking is a simple bench. “In memory of Alan Holden 1924-2011…expertly monitored butterflies and helped create the nature reserve for all to enjoy,” reads the plaque. Eight years since his death, and here lie fresh flowers. The living rush about, send texts, busy themselves with infinite to do lists. This eight-years-gone man has time to remind us to sit awhile. I remember a holiday free from the tyranny of digital means. We sat on a bench on a hill to watch the passing of sunlight across a valley, and the movement of goats. We called it ‘goat tv’. I stop and remember at this place of remembrance that other view where we stopped and sat.

They see me with dogs, pram and often a man before I see them. “Arrrrhhh, arrrhhh, arrrhhh!” They fly down from high territorial perches – the pylon, oak tree or planes by the Old River Lea. The first wave announce my arrival with more calls, then hop from foot to foot excitedly on the ground. Two or three stand on top of the goal post in a row. Their heads bob down and up again with each call. I bring suet or seeds and sometimes a special treat like popcorn. They are especially fond of pasta. There are around 30 crows in my regular crowd, but when the whole ‘Marshes Murder’ come there are up to 120 birds. I welcome their smart beady-eyed corvid appearance. Feathers – some tatty, mottled, a little threadbare – swoop in, take sudden flight if I move too fast. I welcome these shape-shifting portents of death and change. I come most days and in the cold months they bless my offerings with their community and their calls of acknowledgement “Arrrhhh, arrrhhh, arrrhhh!”

I am sitting writing on a train full of solitary commuters. It is the rush hour, and we avoid making eye contact. Many people of these same gaze-avoiders will have digital selves who seek connections – for hook-ups, companionship, romance and marriage. Many of us seek intimacy and touch, yet it is only seen in glimpses in public places. We display our revealing selfies and write our explicit desires behind closed doors. I love the audacious al fresco canoodle of this long-ago-teenage couple. What does genuine affection and tenderness look like? How do we find the kind of attention we really want to receive?

Pavement shrines spring up on the streets outside the formality of churches to signify an unexpected death, an accident or a brutal ending. On this particular corner the end of the working week is announced with a gathering. A member of this club has died. His end is celebrated like any Friday with Wray and Nephew over-proof rum. A Jamaican flag, his name, a photo have been taped round the tree where they meet in honour – RIP it reads. Flowers and candles are placed here to remember him. A balloon is now slowly exhaling. Is this the Jamaican tradition of Nine Night happening here, on the street corner?