Simplicity & Entanglement

Alan Rayner
1 min readFeb 20, 2020
Fountains of the Forest (oil painting on board by Alan Rayner, Mycological Research 102, 1441–1449, 1998). ‘a tree is a solar-powered fountain, its sprays supplied through wood-lined conduits and sealed in by bark until their final outburst in leaves … Within and upon its branching, enfolding, water-containing surfaces, and reaching out from there into air and soil are branching, enfolding, water-containing surfaces of finer scale, the mycelial networks of fungi … which provide a communications interface for energy transfer from neighbour to neighbour, from living to dead, and from dead to living. They maintain the forest in flux as they gather, conserve, explore for and recycle supplies of chemical fuel originating from photosynthesis. So, the fountains of the forest trees are connected and tapped into by the fountains of fungal networks in a moving circulation: an evolutionary spiral of differentiation and integration from past through to unpredictable future; a water delivery from the fire of the sun, through the fire of respiration, and back again to sky, contained within the contextual boundaries of a wood-wide labyrinth of naturally inclusive space.

When we disregard what’s intangible -

Impossible to grasp

Our minds get in a tangle

Trying to get a grip

On what they cannot see

The holey wood within the vibrant trees

The simplicity beneath the surface

That brings to life its branches

In complicated forms

That seem to place in empty background

The space that’s been there all along

The ever-present silent stillness without friction

That calls into a spin

Around its hollow centres of no pressure

Both deep inside and far away

Infinite, intangible

Beyond the measure of material form


So, when you’re caught up in the branches

Or tangled up in webs

Bemused by complications

Don’t tie your self in knots

Trying to trace all their connections

And mystifying loops

From here to deep and wide

Just pause and look inside

To find what dwells within

That calls into a spin

Without making any din

And find your Self in Peace

The Love of Life Itself

The simple truth behind the complex scenes




Alan Rayner

Alan Rayner is an evolutionary ecologist, writer and artist, who is pioneering the philosophy of natural inclusion