I heard the call back in 2013 when stepping upon the earth of the soul land my heart exploded. I was tossed and turned inside out with internal screaming bursting into tears of joy and confusion. I was stuck by sheer magic and meaning of what it was like to belong to a place I never knew existed.
It took me a few years to work out what happened back then when I first visited Scotland and every year since then I couldn’t bare be parted from it. It hasn’t been easy going back and stepping into the land that knew my soul so well again and again and having to leave it behind every time with a feeling of deep grief within.
I am still in that place of neither here nor there, desperately wanting to go and needing to stay, having to live the life I have here, which is glorious in many ways. I am content yet yearning never leaves me for the place that stole my utter being and grabbed hold of me so tightly.
With each passing year the pull of the land hasn’t stopped, in fact, it has intensified with each summer when I would make the same journey and every winter when my heart would pine for it. I fought against it and even tried to convince myself it wasn’t real or happening just to test yet the answer was always the same. It is in my bones so deep I can’t be separated from it physically or spiritually.
I lived there before a long time ago and died a gruesome death with my blood spilling directly on the earth and penetrating its cells. I was of the land like a native animal that recognised smells, sounds and colours of every season the land had dressed itself in. I am still of that land, I am still that animal. I can taste it and its distinctive smell never leaves my senses. It is a particular sensation instantly recognisable by me. I can reach it at any moment yet physical separation remains too much to bear.
I live with my heart open and always listen carefully and intentionally to what the next step might be…
Am I asleep or am I dreaming? What is this feeling of all consuming something my heart struggles to hold yet wants so deeply? I am overjoyed yet bereft at the same time. I cry and laugh all in one moment of sheer madness when I lay my hands on the land. My feet touch the green softness moist with the promise of morning dew. I live, I die, I am in haven yet in pain.
My love affair with the land began a few years ago when I first experienced this strange merging with something. I came upon a place that had a certain smell, vibration where I felt I died and gone to heaven, where my body struggled to adjust to all that air, space and majestic wilderness. Did it touch upon my own sleepy wild heart? It made me cry mad words into the air and at others surrounding me. It made no sense to myself or anyone else yet I couldn’t stop screaming, crying and falling breathless on the grass of the earth seemingly sacred to my soul. It felt like reawakening of love of some kind, familiar yet new, scary yet exciting. Ever since the first step upon the land this dance of confusion carried on summer after summer.
Ambivalent, powerful pull like a voice that screams terrible words one minute and sings a soft lullaby the next. I hear it always yet the message is unclear. Come, go, stay, leave, dance, sit, scream, be quiet. Whatever it all means I find the unfolding of this relationship fascinating.
I am still searching for a settlement. It is alive in my mind, but reality is quite scary. Whenever I am in the land of my dreaming I feel hugely overwhelmed, bitter-sweet, can’t breathe it is too much air type of situation, total intoxication, grief at the thought of separation, yet a relief somewhat when away, but not for long, as the yearning of the heart returns just as strong to merge with it again and it continues like this year after year. I find myself quite confused about it all by now…
In my dreams you visit me like a deep soulful cry from within
You touch my senses as I sit in solitude in the forest
Water takes me straight to the expansive lochs of your bosom
You contain and penetrate the essence of me
I weep, I run, I stop, I listen to the call that links my soul to thee
My breathing holds its flow as I hear your name and suddenly I am transformed into the old Cailleagh walking the hills and mountains with deer by my side
The smell of pit, bog, pine and vibrant heather feels like blood in my veins, warm and homely
The air in you is essential to my survival
My feet are deeply rooted in your landscape and my heart beats with every changing season. I wish to walk it till the end of time, till it’s my time to have my bones scattered amidst your beauty
It is the time of my soul’s bleeding with deep connection to the land, which is calling again and again. It is such a powerful pull that it feels painful and pleasurable at the same time. It is a deep yearning within me that calls me to walk the land’s high hills and smell the soil of the old, moist, fresh wind-swept landscape my soul craves. My heart begins to ache in the feeling of missing my other home, the place that doesn’t let go off me when I am not around. It calls, it sings to me and my bones feel its essence. I miss it so much. I want to see stags gallantly walking the forests and hills and standing still staring, undecided whether to run or continue with their curiosity. They are such beautiful creatures, strong yet vulnerable. I yearn to see them in the land’s autumn dress with trees and grass changing colour and air slowly turning cool with a promise of winter. I wish I could stand at the top of a mountain screaming with delight for I am there, I am alive and the land around me embraces me in its vastness.
Every year it seems I bear the separation with hardly breathing and unable to hold my excitement when I am finally released into the land of my soul. I cry, I ache and spend long hours imagining, smelling, walking the hills and forests in my dreams. At times it is unbearable and I cry uncontrollably and I feel like putting on my boots and running towards the land however far. It feels impulsive with no reason existing in that moment of deep wanting to merge with the landscape, immerse my face into a cold water of a Loch and drink the fresh air of pine forest. The wind, oh how I wish to be swept with it and my face blasted with its force waking me up to my core, shaking all the cobwebs out of my being.
Another year, another period of waiting with a heart that aches and loves oh so deep…
Do not be fooled by the beauty and majesty of the land, as it hides its scars well and keeps its secrets deep under her Earthy blankets. The land doesn’t wait, protect or care for anyone or anything in a sense it just IS. You either blend with it and submit in many ways and embrace its ways or you leave. It doesn’t care for keeping you or entertain you, it has no interest in what you think and feel it is just there. It sounds rejecting, right, well, it is not. It is everlasting and just there and if one wants to merge with it the land is fine with that too as long as there is respect and deep understanding of its wounds, joys, past. Yes, the land more than anything carries past within her streams, trees, mossy hills and eternal rocks. There is nothing on Earth that I have ever come across that speaks of the past and ancestral doings more than the land we stand on, walk on. It knows it all, it seen a lot hence its wisdom is unquestionable. It is fierce and it is gentle, it has it all. It is not all beauty and majesty, it is bloody murders and deaths, it is tears of sorrow and it is gentleness of a sunrise through the trees in the forest. Its majesty lies in its knowing, diversity, multidimensional way of being and embracing it all. It loves and it fights, it gives birth and it kills, it nourishes and it starves and the cycle goes on and on and is never ending. One that will never end, it will continue to go on long after we are gone. That’s the majesty, the way of being that just IS.
Deep understanding of nature can bring peace and turmoil into our souls, as processed are parallel within nature and our psyche and if we tune into its rhythms we risk deeper understanding of ourselves. It mirrors life perfectly to us, all we have to do is see and feel deeply. Nature is the perfect gift to humanity and we don’t know it, but we are threatened by it through destroying it, through turning away from natural ways, through mocking and rejecting the ways of the old. We are scared, that’s what it is, that is all that it is – fear of that power that lied deep in the woods and amongst the rocks and up in the sky. We cannot surrender, we resist and we project and we reject and curse the power that we know we want to get to know, but fear stops us. Nature does favour the brave though, I would say, it shows more to those who are willing to merge with it and enter the forest with an open heart full of love and ready to learn and explore. It favours creative types, curious types unafraid of getting it wrong and stumbling over logs and cutting themselves on bramble and falling off a rock and getting wet on the greenness of the moss. It lifts you up it pushes you down, but as long as you get up and continue on a journey it helps you along yes with more tests, yes, with more challenges, but it also applauds you in recognition of your bravery and willingness to know nature, know yourself…
It can lead you to your home, to your spirit source if you keep eyes, ears and heart open whenever you go listen to the calls of the land, feel the pulls of your heart. What are you drawn to? Rivers, mountains, forests, the sea. Where is it that you feel the most unbearable ache that wouldn’t go away when you are away from the land. What is the place that enters your mind every day and you burst into tears instantly. Where is it you feel the joy of immense light when you are as one with the land. That’s your ‘soul home’. You just know it and the land knows it too as your evolution is a progression towards worship and protection of the land. It becomes a sacred relationship. The land can’t not appreciate it, it does, although it does not attach itself to you as much as you attach yourself to it. It continues to be with allowing for you to be with it. You become living in service to that land, you walk with pride over its hills and fall in love with its winds and summer sunsets. You become as one and all that your heart wants is to be forever there, to be always with it, as one living and breathing and following the cycles of the land forever and ever till the spirit shines so bright and is so near your soul returns to it in peace and beauty.
“This is the place. I was certain. For the heart knows its home when it finds it, and on finding it, stays there.” Corrag, Susan Fletcher