Unexploded Ordnance and Toxic Material

I have always known that the northern Pennines hold a richness of ancient archaeology that baffles my mind with mysteries of stories and wonders. I have also been aware that this region has also been a dumping ground for terrible secrets, ones that the perpetrators have hoped time and grasses would finally cover over, making them disappear into the occult of our history.

 

Having lived here for many years my journeys onto the moors usually reveals some hidden, and at times painful, truth, such as coming across semi-barren land, the remains of tailing of lead mines, where barely anything has colonised the wound. Still raw, after many generations of hiding, exposed on the hillside, they lie, forgotten and shamed in their purpose.

 

Today, I walked the dogs up on a road that was new to me. The wind was sharp, bitter, ready to rain on me. Suddenly I came across a sign, bright red, standing sentinel and alone on the high moor. It read:

 

 

 

I became suddenly very aware of the lumps and scar tissue in the ground; sheets of concrete, moss-eaten at the edges as it attempted to colonise the surface, ghostly outlines of brick buildings, roads to nowhere. Up on the horizon was a skeleton of some once-huge structure. Now left to collapse and return its abandoned being to the Earth.

 

What was this place? What on Earth could have happened here? Why was it toxic, dangerous, explosive? Was I safe? Were my dogs safe, as they tried to take bites out of a carcass of a road-killed rabbit?

 

Amongst the enormous site were farms, and sheep. People remained in this place. To farm, to thrive. My mind went to how they must feel. Was this a landscape they loved? Or was it a landscape that kept others out, a deliberate act of hiding from the outside world? Or was I speculating?

 

I looked at the map. The entire moor side was marked “storage site (disused)”. Truly captivated, I took out my phone and googled it. What came up stopped me in my tracks:

 

Experts put residents’ mind at rest over moor’s dangers

RESIDENTS living near a former RAF base contaminated with chemical weapons have been reassured that the site is safe.

[…….] in County Durham, was used by the RAF during the Second World War as a chemical weapons storage and disposal depot.

After the war the site was cleaned up but an investigation completed in February 2008 showed there were still traces of harmful chemicals such as sulphur mustard, lead and arsenic.

Mustard gas causes skin to blister and is also carcinogenic.

As a result of the study the Ministry of Defence launched a second, more thorough investigation into the 85- hectare site, which is used for sheep grazing.

The full article can be found here

I looked up from the screen and took in the land around me. Here, on this lonely hill, hidden from the main road by the natural contours of the land, tons of toxic weapons were held, to be shipped to British and allied troops to use in World War Two. Dangerous work, for the body and mind. Who worked here? Does anyone still remember this site when it was active? Would anyone tell me? Suddenly I remember my old neighbour Jack, who died last year aged 92. He was in the Home Guard. Why didn’t he tell me of this place? Now I realise he probably knew all along, the site was on his patch, after all. He would have been tasked with protecting it, serving it somehow, no doubt. Keep it secret, keep it safe.

Tumbles of questions filled my mind. What was it like when it was in use? When did it get dismantled? What is the true impact of what remains? How long will it take our great Mother Earth to finally, truly cleanse this site of not only the chemicals, but the wounds? Who around me is holding onto this wound? I begin to see how wounds are held, like burning embers of pain, deep inside a soul for all their lives, hidden, occult, and if not carefully, lovingly healed they become the next generations’ embers too. What the Earth holds, is mirrored within us, and vice versa.

It has rained a lot recently. It has rained a lot since the end of the War. The moor gushes water, past the warning signs and down, into the rivers, into the Tees and into the oceans eventually. The water cleanses but contaminates at the same time, if that is what it has been given to carry. I shudder with grief, shame, horror at what we have done.

The rain that has been holding begins to fall, sharp onto my face. I have seen enough and decide to turn back. But before I do, I suddenly realise that this place cannot be an orphan from me anymore. I know of it now and I want to show it that I see it, I see into the occult of our wounds and I want to bring these wounds into the light. I go to one of the trackways that must have once led somewhere, a path through looming workshops and warehouses, but now leads only onto cratered moor land. I stop and look around for things to make a gift with. There is so very little up here, except dead rabbits, gravel and the occasional Pepsi can. I spy two spent shotgun cartridges. How fitting, I think, to make something beautiful with these for such a site. I gather some pebbles and make a tiny cairn, and pull dead reeds from the trackside. I make a bird. The Radical Joy Bird of love.

 

Disattisfied with what I have made, I fuss, trying to make it more beautiful with what I have. Then I stop, realising that this place has so very little to offer up, but what it has is enough and fitting.

As I walked back, I slow my pace to truly take in what remains above the ground; strange shapes spin my imagination back in time to the hustle and bustle of the War effort; people in RAF uniform, trucks, shouting, laughter, perhaps. I walk back the final mile, deep in my inner eye, reconstructing this whole world in my mind. What a place to have been and a time to have existed up here. Then I look up and realise that I am surrounded by an emptiness of true orphaning. This wound runs deep, I realise.

Yet, I know that I have made a bird in flight, a gift of beauty to this place. I wonder if a baffled farmer will come across it and wonder at the strangeness of humans.

Just as I leave the site, I spy the bright yellow of ragwort by the outline of a building. Such a dangerous plant. The sheep know instinctively to leave it where it grows. But when it is cut it becomes sweet, and deadly. It nods in the brisk wind and I turn from it, filled with its message.

A Hermit’s Voice

I had a conversation with the spirit of a small rural church when in France. I wrote about it here and I warmly invite you to have a read. https://animamonday.wordpress.com/2019/09/23/a-hermits-voice/

Many blessings to you all. I hope you find inspiration in my writing, to listen deeply, connect with the magic all around us and to have faith in what happens.

Into the Woods- a night solo

 

A fox came to me with a piece of blank paper yesterday. I could see that some words were written on it but I couldn’t see what they were. Then today I realise that they say

 

You have forgotten to kiss the wounded Earth.

 

He gave me a metal bracket, cream coloured with a screw in the middle of it.  Triangular arms radiating out. It was an object that was familiar, from somewhere half buried in a cluttered outbuilding. In my childhood I think I must have stood at the doorway, looking in at all the treasures left to slowly entropy. It must have been sticking out, once useful, now detached from its original purpose and left, forgotten in the pile.

 

Five baby wrens flew around me as I entered into the woods, darting in and out of the tangle of wire fencing where their nest must have been. Low to the ground, wings beating like bedsheets in a hurricane.

 

Wounds all around and within.

 

A tyre lies right by where I decide to put up my hammock. How did it get here? How come it was left? Was it abandoned by someone who still intends to pop back and get it or has it, like me, slipped out of human consciousness for a while?

 

I shall bring it back.

 

It becomes the skull of a bird in flight, with its wings outstretched, flying towards the East. I spend some time collecting the right sticks. This is one big bird, I realise. Its skull alone could weigh as much as an elephant’s so it needs a big, glorious body, vibrant and powerful. His beak could swallow the fox in one gulp. Yet this is a bird of peace. Benevolent. And I am glad of its company.

 

As the long afternoon draws downwards and north-westward, I stand in the glorious sunlight at the edge of the meadow and enjoy its warmth. Suddenly, a sheep and her lambs come trundling towards my spot, utterly unaware of my existence. I catch my breath in wonder. They are not scared, they are not even aware of me. I have become completely invisible. I watch her as she snickers and grazes, flicking flies as she goes with ears and tail. Her being brings tears to my eyes and I fall in love.

 

For who did ever ask her ancestor for permission for this relationship? Did human and sheep ever make a pact that she has to live her life by now? I know the answer to this. I am on this side of the fence, she on that one and she is as doomed as I.

 

As dusk falls the badger comes out of his den. He lollops like a bulldozer in exactly the direction he wants to go. I am nothing to him. Idoes not even exist in Badger-time.

 

I sleep and sleep. I awake from a deep pool of dreams and lessons and guides and fantasies. Caroline calls me back in a dream: there are four places left she says. Four places for what? I wonder that still. I lie in my gently swinging hammock, slowly pulling the threads of an awake state together and watch the russet-grey squirrels as they run up and down headfirst every single tree. They explore woodpiles and undergrowth. They stop and take note of invisible messages, paws frozen in mid-air, bodies pure muscle and tails twitching. Birds squabble and I feel the beginnings of hunger.

 

Being makes the squirrels come out

Doing sends them away

 

I move to reach my bag of nuts and wham! the wood is empty except for the scolding birds and the sound of plastic rustling loudly and unnaturally as I feed myself. I long for this to be over so that they can come back.

 

When it is, and they do, so does the rain. I sit, deep in the green womb of the wet forest, meditating, chanting with eyes open and I take it all in. I bathe in the green and the chant and the bowl and the drip of the water and the drinking of the trees. I lose myself through a square window of sticks, gazing at the far distance and the green enters into me. I breathe in something rich, perfect, wounded and real. The boundary of my skin dissolves and the wood becomes me, I become the wood. I become the rain and the rain becomes me. I breathe their oxygen and they breathe in my carbon dioxide and I don’t even notice as I am lost in the sea of green.

 

——

 

The Bird I made lies, enormous, in the wet ground elder. Its wings outstretched and I feel the expectancy of first, fledgling flight, like those tiny wrens.

 

I turn to my little Pocket Rumi book and open it to see what there is to see:

 

Wings of Desire

 

People are distracted by objects of desire,

And afterwards repent of the lust they have indulged,

Because they have indulged with a phantom

And are left even farther from Reality than before.

 

Your desire for the illusory is a wing,

By means of which a seeker might ascend to Reality.

When you have indulged a lust, your wings drop off;

You become lame and that fantasy flees.

 

Preserve the wing and do not indulge in such lust,

So that the wing of desire might bear you to Paradise.

 

People fancy that they are enjoying themselves,

But they are really tearing out their wings,

For the sake of an illusion.

 

-Rumi. From Mathnawi III, 2133-38

 

I sit back, overwhelmed that such a soul could reach across the aeons and touch my soul like this. Guides and wisdom-keepers have told us over and over in sacred texts of these truths. I am humbled that they have loved so deeply all unknown and unborn people, far, far into the distant future. Tears well up; the rain finds its way to the ground through my tear ducts and down, tumbling freely to nourish the Earth. My lusts are, and have been, illusions and I know what it means to tear out my own wings. I have torn them out, again and again. It has taken me many years and many mistakes in the quest to find where they lay, discarded, and to find a way to reattach them. I made yarn from different things. Many times I thought I had sewn them back on, only to realise that the yarn had broken and the ragged remnants were flapping, useless, in the wind.

 

Tentatively I am trying a new yarn, one that has taken more than a decade to make and I feel the expectancy of the fledgling as it stands, poised on the brink of the nest. To fly towards a Paradise that was always there, and to discern illusion from Reality.

 

Humbled, I turn to pack up my shelter and return to the fire.

A walk through ragged beauty….

I am delighted to say that the blog “Anima Monday” has published my story: A walk through ragged beauty. If you would like to read it please follow this link: https://animamonday.wordpress.com/2019/03/18/a-walk-through-ragged-beauty/

“Slowly, the drum began to loosen. The voice of the drum deepened until I knew I had only a couple of more beats before it would become too slack to play. So I finished the drumming and allowed the silence to return. Curlews called as they wheeled about. The oystercatchers twittered, a couple of geese honked as they winged overhead. Dog and I sat and watched sheets of rain pass us by. Perhaps we had found a little foothold of the valley gods, for in here we felt detached, voyeuristic, apart from the elemental dance wheeling about the land.”

On Death, gifts and Guides

They died last year and

Some just now, in the

cold and the snow of darkness

or the ending of the year when the leaves fell golden and discarded

 

My dreams are now of dead people

When once they were of shining living cells,

now all is Medicine

and Spirit and messages of

hope, magic, poetry,

A life cut short, or a life wrapped up in fear

 

They are the worst because

being tightly swaddled by a smothering blanket

impotent

They could never get free and

They lived as if they were already dead

Although you wouldn’t know that from the

prattling priest’s irrelevance

 

Then, time passes and

A task is ahead, undertaken and loved,

share our gifts, gifts bestowed to all

Build a longer table! Share, the message.

 

The car wouldn’t start.

Going nowhere and the cold frost is serious now

She rescues me,

all warm and alive and smiling

part of me knows I should have walked home

felt the night and the frost seep into my living bones

heard Owl, maybe startled a hungry fox.

Maybe.

 

Death clings

Grief needs moonlight and frost

to freeze the tears onto my cheeks

And I should have walked home

 

 

 

Now is the time for us to be our true selves

Now is the time for us to be our true selves.

This phrase might come as a bit of a shock to some; those of us who have no idea that we’re not being our true selves in the first place, as well as those who are coming to realise that all they thought was them has been handed to them from outside. The notion that we have our opinions given to us by outside forces, our tastes, fashion sense, morals, all of it, is a disturbing one.

The moment of seeing through that what we once thought was me, you, us is a deeply significant moment, one which can literally pull a person and communities apart. For what are we really, when we realise we’re not what we once were convinced we were, as we realise that our job is making us sick, our faith is based on fear and manipulation, or the relationship we thought we should have is in fact toxic and damaged. What about our shame? And our sense of right and wrong? Our self-awareness, even our very sense of self is untrue. What if even the truths we thought were true turn out not to be? What if we are not the ‘victim’, or the ‘boss’, nor are we the ‘party animal’ or ‘cynic’, perhaps we’re not even the ‘hard bastard’, ‘earth mother’, ‘teacher’….. Whatever category we put ourselves in can apply here. When our assumptions that once kept us safe and so secure disintegrate, then where do we turn for solid ground?

And all the friends that you once knew are left behind

They kept you safe and so secure

Amongst the books and all the records of your lifetime Ÿ

For this shedding of the self with a small ‘s’ is the beginning of the Quest. People who have begun the questing have my deep respect and compassion, for I went through it myself. Old friends will tell me how opinionated I was, how sure I was of so much. I was well content in the walls, hangings, and furniture in the home I had made that I called Me.

 

Yet one day, long ago, when I had begun to sober up from the years-long party of my youth, a voice within began to clear its throat, ready to speak. When it did begin to speak it was so low and quiet I mistook it for a dull pulse of sound in my gut, like a hum of a large, distant bell. It said know thyself.

It wasn’t until a decade later that I left my lower-case self behind and began searching for the Self; that eternal part of the being that was me, which would be manifested in the outer world by actions that were authentic to this Me, the inner Self. I went, or rather, I was sent unceremoniously on, a Quest. The quest took me on a long journey. Through motherhood and a mismatched relationship I went, through the heffalump traps that Education lay down for my ego to fall headlong into. I fell in and crawled back out, wounded and humbled. Through deep grief at the shattering understanding of environmental crises; I am better at managing the grief I feel for Mother as she cries in her own grief at our species’ stupidity. I bow my head and I shoulder my share of the work in the Great Undoing. Of the loss of friends, the great visitation of Death of friends and companions. Of learning how to write, words that come out of me from somewhere deep in my gut. The same distant low bell that was struck, that called me from the lost world that I was in, now chimes its sound. I have learned to listen to its message, not with my ears, but with the sense of intuition that I have honed over these long, growing years and put it on the page in words.

Now I am over 40. I have become a writer, mother, lover, communicator and healer. I have learned how to teach yoga and heal; people know they can come to me for those things in their lives that are unfathomable, unseen, mysterious and deeply, deeply significant. My Self calls out to the world and those who have ears to listen know that I have done the work and this Self is a safe haven. I cast Runes and Oracle cards. Even my cynical husband has been quietly impressed by the simple messages that ring like their own bells, which only his Intuition can hear. And my stone circle is always there for your sanctuary in turbulent times.

(The next time you see me, talk to my Self, bypass all the nonsense of both of our undoing and let’s have soul-to-soul connection.)

More recently I have become a Board member for the charity Radical Joy for Hard Times. It means that I am able to dedicate more time to creating workshops and facilitating real support for those who are experiencing their own loss of self and an awakening to the deep crises of our times, both within themselves and in the world. Through RadJoy we can look straight and true at this new world, and at our new selves as they have been birthed in their new realities. To hold the grief and to still love this world, this is what I can help us see.

I am becoming my true self, small ‘s’. Through learning to shed all that which I thought I was, in order to connect to the Self, my self is much more authentic and I’m happier with inhabiting this being. Not that the work ever ends, of course it doesn’t. I have recently got a new paid job, so this is throwing up all kinds of new tasks on the Quest. I still get giddy, I swear way too much, I feel my ego bubbling over like an unwatched pot on a stove, and I don’t listen nearly enough. I am still highly opinionated and I occasionally sway like an aspen in a hurricane as my cycle dictates.

We’re in this together and I don’t suppose many people think they’re the finished article. And by the way, if they do, then tell them to go on a Quest. Politely, of course.

Ÿ Words of the quote from Nick Drake Hazy Jane II https://youtu.be/512dfE03-DI

For more information about Radical Joy for Hard Times visit http://www.radicaljoyforhardtimes.org

On portals and radical reawakening

I’ve always had a thing for gateways. There aren’t any stone circles very close to where I live, without needing to drive a little way. I’m never more than about ten miles from one, I have to say, they litter this northern land. But I digress. Instead of stone circles, I have taken to finding the old stone uprights that demarcate an old footpath, too narrow for corralled sheep to squeeze through but perfect for a foot-traveller. They are a sure sign that travelling on foot was not only normal, but so ordinary as to be an integrated part of fencing when land became enclosed.

What came first, the tracks or the fields? It’s a combination of both; footpaths are ancient ways, yet many were officially rerouted, or turned into larger carriageways, big enough to carry carts and carriages or became drovers’ lanes. The Enclosures Acts were a series of Acts passed between 1604 and 1914, which slowly or drastically, in their turn, made it legal for landowners to put up hedges, walls and fences, although the act of enclosing land really began with the Bronze Age stone clearing. In order to make fields more workable and productive, they moved the rocks lying scattered in the land and built stone walls with them. In fact, some of the still used dry stone walls are over 4,000 years old. In the Middle Ages it became a norm to have open fields, stripped into tilled areas, communally worked by labourers and local families. These open fields were subsequently removed by the Enclosures Acts and many of the field systems we see today are the outcome of this aggressive succession of Acts, and many of the land workers and their families left to find work in the larger towns and cities. 

Yet the tradition of keeping trackways open, like a thread puncturing the walls with a string that traverses this land, endures to this day. I walk these ghostlike trails, sometimes nothing more than a half-pipe of flattened grass, that join the punctures in the hedges. Some of the uprights are held on either side by robust walls, some stand utterly alone, where once a wall must have stood. Some are ancient posts in modern wire fences. Yet many are guarded by Hawthorn, Nettles and Brambles, which tells the traveller of very ancient roots

It was the Hawthorn that grabbed me today, as I stepped a foot onto the makeshift stile. Caught in the act of passing over, Hawthorn punctured my skin on the wrist and held me to a charge. Eat one of my berries, it said. Take my flesh beyond this portal, and only then will I let you pass. 

I took my foot off the stile and turned my attention fully to the bush. Its bright red berries are turning now to a glorious Burgundy colour, and taking one in my fingers I could feel how soft it was. Telling the Hawthorn that this is the berry I had chosen, I gently tugged and it came away into my hand. I nibbled it, around the stone in its centre. A wave of delicious, fleshy autumn filled my mouth. Hawberries taste a little like avocado, yet a wild, potent sort that is so good for the heart that I have made a remedy with it before. It is a beautiful kind of hedge medicine; hawthorns can be used in many of their forms; eaten as blossom (the delicate petals are rich with natural sugars and are really tasty), or their berries and leaves can be collected for lowering blood pressure and assisting with opening the arteries. It is potent, though so if you already take medicines do research if taking hawthorn is a good idea on top of what you already take.

I then passed through the portal. I repeated this ritual at every stile, noting how these uprights form the skeleton of human movements over the long centuries. OS maps show just how criss-crossed our land is with these footpaths and I feel that we have a duty to tread them. Not all paths lead to significant, historical places, yet all can lead us back in time, or to the now. Even if we don’t travel more than a mile radius from our home, but follow these ancient ways as they turn and cross, then we will be opening up a box of delights. What a gift our ancestors have given us!

Perhaps I am drawn to write this at this time of year, of the end of things and the beginning of things. Winter is the time of deep sleep and we can see it, feel it, in the world all around us. How vitally important it is to sleep. Yet there is another portal that I have been through. The portal of reawakening to the dread of climate chaos this is coming ever nearer. How can I sleep when I have been reawakened? I am being pulled both ways and I need to come to find the balance in this. I have a feeling that I am not alone. More than ever, we cannot go back to sleep, because very soon, if we do not pull back from the precipice, we will enter into full ecological collapse. And trust me, that won’t be pretty. Climate migration, agricultural collapse, famine, job losses and riots, economic collapse, the living world will collapse which means no fish, no crops, no fuel…. Just very desperate people in a dying world. 

That’s what is over the precipice. And, no, sorry guys, I’m not going to pull any more punches. This is how it feels to be awakened. 

Yet, we can and MUST draw back from that precipice; buy local, till your own land, work in communities to produce food and fuel, no more flights, no more fossil fuels. Keep the bloody stuff in the ground. Did you know that when fossil fuels were laid down, there were no mammals because the atmosphere wasn’t breathable and the mean temperature was simply too high? Those trees, which we are so blithely burning, made our atmosphere perfect for mammals by absorbing carbon dioxide and turning it into their own bodies, and still are doing so. The act of burning that carbon simply puts it back into the atmosphere, thus raising the temperature and eventually making our own world uninhabitable in the process. So KEEP IT IN THE GROUD! Change your energy supplier, walk, cycle, have webinars and don’t travel, buy local, organic food. Change the way we farm and divest from entirely fossil fuel-dependent agriculture. (How much farming does your local farmer do without his tractor, quad, bought in feeds, industrial fertilisers etc? Not much.)

This is a portal that I have been very unceremoniously shoved through. Yes, the turning of the year suggests that it is time to rest, but our human-made crisis is shouting the opposite. It’s time to listen, to walk our land and fall back in desperate love with it and our own survival, then to act

http://www.risingup.org.uk

http://www.activehope.info

Get involved or get educated and I’m here to support you, make small but significant changes but firstly, it’s time to acknowledge that things are moving fast.

 

 

 

 

 

When the wind rages outside

It’s early morning on a Tuesday in the middle of half term holidays. The children have already bickered about a cardboard box and decaf tea. The baby has turned off the TV that they are watching, scribbled allover my to-do list and wants more of what everyone but he is eating for breakfast. It’s chaotic in here. Even the dog is agitated. Tempers are high, we’re all being too loud. It’s barely 8am and I’ve already had enough.

Outside the sun hasn’t even risen yet. Its light has been growing for the last hour but still there is no point of light in the clear, scattered and shredded sky. The wind is high, it has been all night. Beautiful Cherry, who has been growing quietly all these years in my garden while I’ve learned to love her, clings desperately to her last reddened leaves, refusing to let the wind snatch them from her. She is a tough thing, that Cherry tree. She is one of the first to come into leaf in the Spring and one of the last to lose them in the late autumn. Her delicate little fruits are so bright red. When they turn into that deep maroon colour, if the blackbirds leave me any, I like to take a couple. They’re sharp and sour, with a hard juiciness that wilder varieties still retain. Not like the shop-bought ones, but the ancient, British ones, almost unpalatable to our modern senses. We don’t like our food to be uncomfortable. Sweet and juicy is pretty much what we demand from our fruits now. But my garden reminds me of how sour our food once was, before our tastebuds modernised.

Blackbird is watching me through the window.

When the wind is high the whole world is in movement. Our little bodies are buffeted, even from within four sturdy walls. For my part, it doesn’t take much external, wild, planetary force to dislodge me. My being becomes unravelled and rudderless at the slightest thing. Over the years I have developed practices which keep me connected to myself, this life, so that my being doesn’t get lost amongst the ragged clouds. When the wind blows my mind flies into the four directions. When the sun shines or hides my heart bursts into tiny pieces. When the new fruits burgeon in Spring time my knotted intestines release with a song of creative joy. When the bitterest snow falls I can barely breathe. For I am a child of the Earth, just as you are. My water is this Earth’s, my cells the soil. What happens to Her, happens to me, to all of us.

The practices I mentioned, these are things that have been freely given to me. Kind souls’ wisdom, that need to be shared, for us to return to ourselves. I meditate, bang a deerskin drum, sing wordless syllables, walk the Earth, move my body through Yoga, play music, listen to others who can bend sound to connect us to that which is greater and more eternal than we. And I find a community and gather those dear souls around me. For if I am a child of the Earth, then we all are and when we come together we can hold each other in a safe container, where we can open to our connectedness.

We are not here for all that long. Probably less than a century, possibly our time on the apparent plain is nearly at an end and we don’t even know it. Perhaps we do. What matters is what we are. Not what we’ve done, as achievements are half chance. But what we are. The verb ‘to be’, the latin root is ‘essence’, ‘essential’. What is my essence? It is to live humbly, simply. To love.

I love this world so much that I have faced my untold grief and I have somehow managed to retain shreds of sanity. Not all of it was blown into the scattered clouds, when the ferocity of the wind of knowledge blew through my mind. I still have that little red thread, as the late George Michael described it. What is that? He said it was like a line that he had to follow that came out from his body and led on. If he followed it then he would become successful, become the man and artist we knew him to be. My own little red thread was there all along, when I wanted to be a nun when I was a very small girl, it  was there when I lived in a spiritual community in Scotland, it pulled me through my chaotic twenties and into my thirties. It pulled me unconsciously through until I began to investigate my own subconscious through meditation and ritual. Then I came to see it for what it was. It wasn’t a thread that was leading me to a career, or lots of money, like George. No, it was a thread that connected me all my life to Truth. Not everyone else’s I’d surmise. This isn’t a sermon. Yet mine. Though one that I have a suspicion that I share with a great many of you.

This Truth is so obvious that I have to keep excavating my own bullshit to remind myself of it: the pulse of life that is within me is within every single thing. You too, dear Reader. It’s in you too, and you looking out, it’s in me too. And so the ripples of realisation keep expanding.

I’ll just allow that to sink in a moment.

When I remember the simplicity of this, that my beautiful Cherry tree lives because it should and does, just as much as me or you, or my chaotic kids, then everything falls away. The world, the Universe, becomes a network of complex living pulses of essence. This is the truth that keeps me utterly in love with being alive. What a gift we have been given. To have these senses, this body, this world in which to live and learn. Do we even see what a great, unbound gift we’ve been given? In all honesty, no, I doubt it. I doubt that we give thanks. To what? To what should I give thanks? To Life itself? A God? To my Ancestors for going through joy, fear, utter horror and many, many moments of sheer boredom just so there may be the possibility that I could live and that my children would be born? We live for the descendants we will never know. For we are the living Ancestors.

To give thanks is in itself to tread every footfall with reverence. Every breath is filled with Divine purpose of life itself. I for one will give thanks to the Earth. I come from a line of consciousness that has never been broken, from the very first minerals turned carbon into living, organic matter, billions of years ago. So in very real terms I AM the Earth. As are you. Our Deep Time Mother IS Earth, and that is another simple Truth.

Our actions speak volumes about these Truths. Should I pollute the air, that is my Mother? Should I cut down that tree that is as alive as I? Am I treading lightly? Is my footfall reverent? Can I leave here one day, having left only love, when I die?


The wind is still raging. I must walk the dog, he’s as agitated as I am. I think everyone needs a bit of buffeting, now that the sun has risen. Slowly Cherry tree is losing her leaves to that tenacious wind and I should go out and greet the morning.