Foreboding – The future of wild places

Jonna Jinton – the hostess in my dream

I had a dream last night and it went like this.

I opened my eyes and met hers. She was looking at me with piercing blue like a frost-covered morning on a bright day. I smiled. She turned her face away, as if not wanting to be there.

I was aware of the best sleep I had in ages and also knew that I travelled a long distance to be here in this place, with her.

A white linen dress clang to her slender body and she moved as lightly as a ghost would sliding from one room to another. I followed her and came into a room full of people and noise. They seemed to have been preparing for some kind of expedition. She asked me to join them, which took me by surprise and I felt a sharp sensation deep within that screamed, “Why would I go anywhere else when there is all this, here, with her?” I looked out of the window. We were in some kind of cabin, which was spacious with many rooms and I felt the warmth of the fire coming from next door. “Where is everyone going?” I said to her, as she approached me by the window. “Paris,” she said lowering her head to the ground again. She was hiding something. She didn’t look displeased dealing with the visitors to what I knew was her house, but she felt detached, not all present. “No Paris, I said. Not for me”. Groups of people crowded outside waiting for transport. They seemed impatient to get out of the place, but why would they come in the first place, I wondered. She looked over in their direction with some relief, I thought. Her body displayed anxiety and I saw an emerging smile at the prospect of them leaving.

I began to cry sitting by the window looking outside on to a wintery wilderness. A frozen lake, deep, luscious snow and tree tops in crowns of white. My heart was exploding recognising the wild within. She looked bewildered at me as if not letting herself remember or believing my feelings.

“Why all these people? What happened to your homestead? I remember it being just you here.”

She looked at me with the saddest eyes, but averted it quickly not wanting to show emotion.

“We are showing people the last wilderness.”

I knew she didn’t want to, she was forced into it. I grabbed her hand trying to show her I understood and asked if we could go outside. She didn’t move away from me and said, “Later.”

When crowds dispersed I was glad of some silence and empty places I could go and check. The rooms in the house were furnished with simple furniture, but very old. Figurines and wooden carved animals were on shelves and by bedsides. Everything was basic. I remember hearing complaints earlier from the crowd of girls, “How are we supposed to cope with these facilities. There isn’t even a toilet and we have to sleep on the floor. Did you see what we had to eat?” Dissatisfied voices echoed in me and I realised that this is the future of the wilderness tourism; people coming to see the most remote, wild places, yet wanting to be away from it from the moment they arrived. The sadness in my hostess filled me up and I went to look for her. She was already outside clearing some snow and I could see the black earth underneath. I bent down and scooped some icy blackness bringing it to my nose to smell. She smiled slightly at me and carried on in her own now lost world, in a place no longer hers.

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Soul Land review

Signed Paperback copies of Soul Land available from the author

RAW NATURE SPIRIT

From a Druid, writer and poet, Nimue Brown, the author of many wonderful books on nature-based spirituality, comes a review of my poetry collection. I am so pleased she enjoyed it.

I love how she framed them as Bardic songs, letters. So interesting, which makes it even more significant for me.

https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2020/07/19/soul-land-a-review/

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Rising

I can see women rising from under the earth stretching their arms towards the sky. Those are not the Faye women or some mystical vision of goddesses unknown. Those women are the ones buried long before; those, whose voices were stolen and whose lives were taken branding them dangerous, sexual and raw. They are rising like a birch forest to proclaim a new life.

They are not to declare war or revenge they are to be in a way that is impossible to ignore or enslave. Golden, auburn, jet black hair tangling up trees as they rise up with rivers increasing in flow all around them and with a full power of a waterfall smash it back into the earth. Cloud part and close up in a dance of light and dark, an incoming storm and sunshine.

What do they want? A new manifestation without hatred or punishment but magic, intuition, nourishment to the bone and a voice as deep and old as a soul, lost previously but never again. This time it won’t be possible as the light these women bring is blinding in a way that it transforms not destroys. It affects and unites, it invites and welcomes everything and everyone. They rise up with bodies establishing the rule of prime, a sense of pride in every cell they embody. The flesh is pulsating and nourishing, giving and receiving. No one is excluded from the new dance they get ready to perform.

Rise up the women of forgotten centuries. Rise up the female of the lost. The time is now. The world has always meant to be female from the beginning of time and space. She urged to be from the start and with the lost sisters of the dead but rising she will be again without ruling or battling but in her being she will be enough and more.

I am whole…

Isle of Mull, Scotland

An open view as far as the eye can see. I can even feel beyond that. For the first time in many years the picture is complete with every mountain sketch, rock, shoreline and bird in the sky in full view. The sun is high yet gentle and blues and greens are in perfect harmony with a splash of purple and pink in corners and edges of the land. We are approaching. A castle stands proud above the cliffs that shelter a sheer drop. It is still here. I delight in that reassurance.

When a view opens up from a living room window it is vast. You can see and feel the mountains breathe into the sea and exhales come as waves and splashes that freshen everything up. Everything is injected with life. It is overwhelming trying to take it all in. It feels like I can’t decide if there’s too much air or not enough of it. It is a sensation of possession by raw instinct that makes you want to take your shoes off and run to the edge of the vista that sprawls open in front. The end of the earth is there. Senses are both sharpened and relaxed. It is intoxicating to a point of wanting never to sober up. Silence is otherworldly.

I sit at a large kitchen table surrounded by lush green landscape with rowan and gorse, ash and oak in faithful surround. Those trees know the land intimately, they know they belong. I can’t take my eyes away from large windows in front of me, which makes it impossible to work. It takes a few days to be able to fit into this pristine environment and realise where I come from and where I am. The contrast is shockingly stark. It is a process of bedding in, acclimatising slowly and steady or you might just suffocate.

I decide to go for a walk, something I have been looking forward to for a whole year. My beloved walks in nature and here I find everything. It all is just as I left it last time. I find it reassuring and comforting. It is all here, still. When I am away I often wonder if things change when I am not there to see it, will it all still be there? Will I have another chance to live it? One never knows. Every time I find it is just as I left it and it is a relief and something beyond beautiful and soothing to know it will outlive everyone and everything.

I walk along a path and silence wraps me up in a cloud of peace. It is palpable, ethereal like nothing else on earth for me, the most precious commodity and a gift. I cherish it with every land’s breath, every leaf movement and rain drop that makes up the silent chorus that is nature being. My heart is in my mouth and I am deeply happy. There’s nothing else I need or want in that moment and if it was to be the last that would be a glorious end. I always feel that way here in those moments when there’s no past or future and the present is so perfect and complete that nothing else is needed or matters.

I continue on the path but not for long as I am a habitual off-the-path walker. I always need to go in where wild resides. I need to get close to it and it makes itself known by making scratches on my legs, sticking things to my clothes and dipping my feet in mud. I fee feral and ecstatic. Makes me feel I belong that little bit more. It is the unknown yet feels like home. I scramble up a wooded hill and it is like my own invisible circle – a place where magic is the law not just a possibility. It is all so simple and fresh. It is always there and doing its thing. It knows itself as much as anything on earth can ever know. This is a true nature of things. I want to be that way if only I never had to leave or having to do things or even think. Humans are limited through complicating things. It is never simple in our minds and we dwell in those self-imposed prisons without realising it, by habit automatically. Awareness comes not easy to us.

I wrap my arms around a silver birch trunk, wet and earth-smelling. Its smooth bark is like a touch of a loved one. My grandmother comes to mind and memories of walking in silverbirch forests in my childhood flood in. Every touch here means something, every smell is a reminder how entwined I am with nature in my body and spirit. I lose track of time. There is no time here, only life, only what you see and feel.

I am having to drag myself out back on to the path. Deer to my left startled and frozen as they pick up my scent. They look right at me before fleeting, cautious and on guard always. I smile. Fresh and clean air hits every inch of my body and I could almost be floating I feel so uplifted as happiness spreads through me. I let my hair loose and stand catching every bit of the breeze that is sweet and the most soothing thing I could ask for. I stand still for a minute hungry for more, taking each breath and there’s more coming. I can’t get enough there’s so much on offer.

I get moving again and come across some cottages by a loch-side. I always wonder what it must be like to live in such a place. I used to get envious to a point of passing out but since have learnt a lot more. At this point I am under no illusion that it is easy. My initial idealised vision has truly been grounded in reality of life on an island, in a land so wild, raw and free that one has to work at belonging. Every cottage makes me think and wonder of a possibility of a compromise. It is a symbol of a relationship between a human and nature. It offers a possibility of finding out if one is brave enough.

Stroking a thick coat of a highland coo I touch something primal. Animals bring a sense of kinship to my instinctual animalistic self. I am in love every time I touch an animal. They are warm, looking right at me with their black eyes and there is a connection no doubt. A lot can be learnt from the beasts of that land. Birds of pray are everywhere here, they are noisy one minute and gliding silently the next, barely there.

Time to turn back. I am so happy, utterly at peace and content. My body feels satisfied like it’s had the most nourishing meal. Nothing else needed. Nothing needs to be added or taken away. It is complete. I am whole.

August 2020

Soul land

It is a period of wrapping things up in a wider sense of the beginning of the harvest season. To me it makes absolutely sense and after all is said and done what is left is a simple life, gratitude, people that we love, fulfilling work and creativity in every day with self-awareness, but not analysis. We are now done with analysis, I feel, and shifted towards moment-by-moment daily values and really breathing life in as it comes. This year has brought so many improvements to the ways things run, which is applicable to individual lives and the collective, and it is good to be able to look back and be grateful for having arrived at this point in the year and see how things were and how they are now through our own personal creation, tweaking, restructuring and letting things fall away as needed. The difference is huge. I am excited to start reaping the fruits/rewards of the seeds that I planted back in March. I remember that period of confusion, trepidation and nervous excitement of the unknown. Planting season always keeps me sane and grounded. Here we are with my land bursting with fresh organic produce that ends up on my plate and in my body. Very satisfying, indeed.

This summer for the first time in many years I am not depressed. I get seasonal summer depression (SAD in reverse) every year with no fail, but not this time. Instead I have been happy and noticed how I enjoy everything, however small, and gratitude has gone up a level also transforming to this shining light that doesn’t go out, but just accompanies me in everything that I do. I am able to be more and for longer and find it a lot more natural, up another level. I have learnt to stay in one place and be okay with it. I am slower and more intentional and what has been the most useful change is simplifying everything even more. For years I have had up to three jobs and multiple projects on the go all at the same time. I slowly reduced and culled in that area and this year it is the final alteration, I hope, to the whole work dynamic. I actually want to have just one job from here onwards – this is alien as you can imagine, but necessary. As always my way of living and being has been 100% intuitive and I attribute satisfactory results to my intuition, which I have never distrusted. I don’t know any other way to live at this point and it has truly changed my life many years ago when I stepped into understanding that my inner voice is the one I need to follow. My intuition is my magic.

My trip to Scotland this year has been utterly different too. I did wonder in the last year if things were going to change following a lot of work done on it last year and struggles and turmoil last summer. It did change in a very natural and gentle way. My predictions were correct and my work paid off. As I drove on empty roads in Argyll on the way to the islands I was surrounded by pine forests and wild flowers everywhere. I saw a cloak of grief not being there anymore. The lump in my throat was no longer there. I felt free, almost flying. I could finally exhale with ease. Sadness, overwhelm and confusion cleared up, evaporated and all I felt was the land just being there, unchanged, unshaken and blooming as usual. Immense comfort entered me and it remained unchanged for the duration of the trip. I felt happy every single day. I reached some sort of completion on my journey of seven years. The number, I realised, was significant, as every grief that comes my way is always intense and lasts for seven years exactly. This was no different.

Today I can say that the feeling of contentment and calm is here within me and very welcome it is too. Being back home is like slotting into a place that holds me. It is comfortable, snug and functional. It might not be my soul home, but it is a secure base, something I created and share with people that I love. There is beauty in that for sure. I look forward to autumn and winter immensely and getting back to writing and creating.