In its own time

As the wheel of the year takes another turn through Lammas , the first of 3 harvest times , where the grass crops ripen and the hay is cut to store for winter feed , we are looking forward to the next cycle and the second harvest , that of the Autumn Equinox and the coming berries, fruit and nuts .

Its hard to believe its already been 8 months since I took on this beautiful land and began to slowly step into working on the creation of the space. Progress appears quite slow but that has been deliberate.

I always knew from the start I needed to take my time and allow the space to evolve organically, in its own time. A year or so of observation has proven extremely useful for a number of reasons, in spite of my occasional impatience and desire to rush ahead and “do something”.

Plantain and hogweed seed harvest

I have done somethings – I have created pathways , cleared a seating area , established a compost heap and noted what grows here , how much of it grows , where it grows and what’s needed to help maintain a balance between keeping the flowers food and nesting materials for the wildlife and keeping the site clear and safe for people to move around .

I’ve had the pleasure of inviting a few people down to the site to hear their feedback, listen as they excitedly reel off the list of plans they envisage for the site , how it could look, the activities they could do here. From artists waxing lyrical about nature art , green sculpture and music in the woods , to bushcrafters wanting to build log cabins and people in recovery enjoying the peace and greenery , imagining support sessions in a wild outdoor place , helping maintain the space , wildfower areas , bell tents and a safe and comfortable place just to hang out. The magic in this for me, is in saying nothing and simply bringing people into the space and hearing their ideas confirm my own.

Tiny wrens nest found on the floor

As I plan and plot the template with the place I often doubt what bits are my ego wanting things a certain way and which are meant to come into being. Letting go of control for someone who has always done everything herself has been a struggle. But I have taken the lands advice on how to do this .

Take your time. Don’t rush. If you aren’t sure don’t do anything and wait. Gather more information. Get advice. Let go and forget about it. Come back to it when you are clearer, more balanced, able to listen. Talk less , listen more. Don’t over think it. Observe. Ask.Ask again. Ask differently and see if you get the same answers.

Its not too dissimilar to shamanic journey work to be honest. And I suppose in a way it is. Communing between two worlds – that of the human nature and that of the wild earth nature and the beings of place.

I haven’t spent much time at the land over the last few weeks as I haven’t felt called too. I basically got told to let it be and come back in September. I went away on holiday. Enjoyed myself and switched off from work and planning and figuring things out. It gave me chance to drop back into sensing my way through a channel that isn’t the mind , the feeling body, the inner senses . Much as I was at the very beginning of knowing the place. It seems I panic a bit when things are growing and Im not sure what I need to do to help things along. Not very much is the answer. Just let things do what they do.

What letting things do what they do revealed was a lot of abundant growth and a space evolving in its own way. With certain places in need of a bit of help to clear the excess that was choking the growth of other useful plants and flowers. It involved waiting to notice bud, flower, seed and decay cycles, learning when to cut and prune , pick and leave alone.

I noticed the birds eat lots of the nettle seeds and berries so I know not to pick them until after they take what they need. They don’t touch the strawberries so I can have those. I saw the plants grow to such a height they fall over and they can be pruned earlier and kept to just a few feet high so people can wander about more easily whilst still giving the wildlife the flowers they need to live and produce young. The water I was so worried about not having enough of is plentiful- I just need to have a bit stored for the drier spells for the birds around May and June. Buckets and large pots to catch rain mean the birds have plenty to drink and bathe in.

Fruits and seeds gathered from the land

The space has taught me a lot.

Initially it seemed it would take a lot of work to keep on top of but it doesn’t. Theres plenty of everything for me to be able to cultivate new areas and cut back the present growth without upsetting the balance of the place. Something I was anxious about. I can see how my initial plans can work and will not impose anything drastic that the space doesn’t want. With a bit of tweeking I can meet safety requirements AND have the site left wild .

This will never be a place where too many people gather. It will always be and was always intended for , small groups to spend time together in community. For rest and reflection and healing and connection rather than the busyness of doing. A space to be .

As autumn saunters in and the leaves turn from the trees , the plants will die back and the grasses will decay and the next phase of creating the space will begin. Hopefully with a small group of people helping to plan and prepare for starting again , phase 2 of Space for nature. That of bringing the plans to fruition.

Earth Medicine

I’ve just returned from a beautifully nurturing, nourishing and wonderfully held Wild Therapy taster weekend .

It was lovely to connect in the flesh with real people during what has been an often difficult and isolating period.

My main role was fire tending and water keeping – keeping people warm and with brews and holding the observer position, part of the group,yet just outside of it. Noticing.

I often take sometime to commune with the land and the space and often receive poems to share during these times. This one was the one that came during this weekend. These experiences often rekindle a deep connection to the wilderness and the other than human that many people find deeply connecting and sustaining. They remember something. They make time for stillness, pause and reflection. And the wild works its medicine through all of them.

Medicine.

Listen to the voices of the wind..
Its medicine,
You need that

Listen to the voices of the water
Its medicine
You need that

Listen to the voices of the fire
Its medicine
You need that

Listen to the voices of the land
Its medicine
You need that !

Go to the forrest and speak to them
They are longing for your company

That tree you love so much ?
Its medicine

That plant you are being drawn to
That rock , that stone, that feather , its medicine,
You need that !

The beetle longs to tell you the secret of its shell ,
The butterfly, the squirrel, the hazel tree, the crow
All are waiting for you …

Your medicine,
They need that .

Love song to a dying world

A few months ago , back in the summer , the news was filled with the stories of the fires raging in the Amazon. Considered to be the lungs of the earth.

As more of the earth is being ravaged , we are experiencing alarming rates of species decline and extinction , loss of habitat , a decrease in bio diversity  and as a changing climate creates more environmental uncertainty , world leaders feel unmoved to act in any meaningful capacity.

In truth the Amazon was not the only forest burning. There were bush fires raging across the globe due to drought , bad land management and will-full  and deliberate slash and burn policies to clear land for agriculture, with no thought for the consequences. The recent bush fires claiming Australia bring the reality of our current crisis into sharp focus.

Our beautiful Earth is ruined. Her losses mount up day by day . The land erosion, the air & water pollution , the species extinction . By disconnecting the indigenous peoples from their lands , their cultures , their position of caretakers of the lands they were once custodians of , a great deal of important knowledge has been ignored. About maintaining balance in our world , about reciprocal relationship and interconnectedness . About taking only what we need and honouring the beings we share this Earth with for what they offer us in order for us to survive.

Capitalism took over and now we are reaping what we have sown . Whilst many cultures in all places this has happened , have been slowly re-building and re-generating their ancient wisdom and piecing together lost knowledge, adapting and seeking new ways to revive the old ways , change is slow to come. As a species , humans have lost their place in the natural world and everything has suffered as a result.

It leaves many of us overwhelmed. Anxious. Afraid for the future of our children and grand children. It leaves us numb and apathetic. It brings some of us waves of hope that we can change our current trajectory , followed by waves of despair when we realise just how much work there is yet to be done . Even if we collectively make a radical shift and did all the things we can possibly do right now to make the changes necessary – there is no guarantee it will make any difference. And I know many people , who have dedicated their lives to the cause of making positive changes to save this precious Earth , are themselves doubtful. We are facing difficult ,turbulent and challenging times ahead.

But there is always hope.

The solution for many is to fall in love again with the Earth. With our connection to each other. To land ,to place, to all the beings we live with;  plant , animal , insect,  fish, mountain ,river ,stone. What I call Landcestors. To remember them as kin.  To re-kin-dle our relationship to life. Even if only to tend to the grieving and honouring of all that’s been lost  and all that is dying. Even if only to make the most of what remains and to keep living and keep pushing for change. Because it matters and it might make a difference after all.

It was as I watched the Amazon burn and felt rather helpless to do anything useful to change things , that I felt inspired to find a creative response to share the experience. I was not the only one feeling the grief and the rage of living on a planet where people prioritise profit above life.

I wrote a single line and could write no more. I decided to share it on Facebook and Instagram and invite others to add their own verse. I collated each of them  in the order I discovered them on the feeds and the result was a beautiful  co -created prayer , an offering to the other than human , an acknowledgement of the situation , a healing balm.

This poem became a ritual for me for several days – each day I would offer a new verse to the world and once all contributions had been made – I went out into a wild place and performed the whole piece to the land. I offered the sorrow and the hopes.

And so here it is.  With much appreciation and gratitude to the contributors – D.A.Tarot , Peter Yanowski , Soul Flower Sharon , Sarah Fay Taylor (Roots and Resonance ), Tracey Dean and Sharon Murphy.

Love song to a dying world

Today I’ll walk amongst the trees that aren’t on fire

and burn

to feel the presence of natures wisdom

and taste the charred messages

from this ancient kingdom.

 

Touching one tree

connecting to all

our roots go deep;

holding one another

we feel it all.

They in turn feel our love

and I allow my heart to open

and my healing love to flow

as I hold tightly to a vision

of the world remembering.

With desire to learn

to evolve

and not witness humanity dissolve.

The forest cries out choked,

as feather meets ash ,fur and flesh

cleaved into the waters burning orange ,

as fire goes into spirit…

A stalking predator,

padding into the Throne Room of The Misguided,

walks beside me.

I will call out to the animals, the birds, the insects,

all the creatures who call to my soul asking… why?

what have we done?

We love you all unconditionally, can you love us this way too ?

Remember you are one of us ?