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”.
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.
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.
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.
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