Last night I dreamt of blue

Last night I dreamt of blue

Flooding us all and I thought it was the oceans

Come to reclaim the land for itself once more

It was, but not yet, 

It said

This blue is made first in the human realm and then,

Oh then, when the waters really come

Will the inundation happen and

No sandbags of trust, loyalty and faith

Can hold 

Me 

Back

 

A bomb went off and ripped the plinth of a Colonial icon

so that sherds of rock flew and a man cried out in grief

Roman numerals exposed and counting

Time is ticking

And we are still repairing the plinth

Be careful which deities you Invoke

For we are real, oh yes,

More powerful than your temples and altars ever could hold

Too destructive and too

Real

 

Yet

The flames of small candles burn and banish the darkness

Even if for just a short while

For a small space in existent matter

And sounds ring through the realms

Onto the ears of Other Gods

Om gum ganapatayei

Namaha

 

And so it shall be

Sisters of Light

Sisters of bravery

Sisters in time and space

For a moment there

I saw my heart beating

Raw in the candlelight

Lessons from myself

 

Oh my, I feel unheard, irrelevant, as if I am not speaking, or as if I have spoken the wrong words, in the wrong order at the wrong time… How come there are so many voices out there doing a better job at it than me, or when I do raise my voice, there are a million well-meaning and friendly people keen to tell me how I am doing it all wrong?

 

Can you feel it? Can you hear that voice? You’re doing it to yourself… That voice isn’t You, it is Ego, who you gave the name Harriet to, when you could first speak.

 

I gave the money to the charities, over and over again, I gave them my wish for it all to stop. And it didn’t work, those fucking pictures are still beamed into my life through the TV and my computer screen. Another child dies, another house burns to the ground, another beach moving to the sluggish rhythm of oil-slicked waves.

 

If you did nothing, the same truths would still be beamed to you. Your actions are not televised, but felt and they will ripple out into the cosmos just as surely as those images get beamed to you in the ad break.

 

Why is it never enough?

 

Because it was never enough. That will not change. Why is this so hard to accept? To act is to be compelled, not to fix.

 

I am a fixer, I realise that now.

 

You are also a little bit egotistical.

 

How do I move from being motivated by my ego to true Service?

 

Let me take you for a walk….

 ……..

 

The dog comes with me into the cave, but then she turns into a She Wolf and we enter into the darkness and descend some dark steps. Out onto a plain, we cannot go forward. I ask her, how do I move from being motivated by my ego to true Service? She says nothing but begins to dig and dig and dig like a puppy with a bone. Down and further down she goes until there is a big gaping shaft of earthy nothing.

 

 I drop down and find myself in a dark room full of electronic banks, switches and lights but nobody there. The Wolf says this is the nerve centre. Of what, I wonder.

 

We walk through the centre, out onto a high plateau above a plain, just like the one I went to first, but I know this is different. It feels different. We drop down a track and onto the ground of the plain.

 

A chamois goat appears and head-butts me. I do not know if it is angry, but it wants me to move. It butts me so I back up against a rock.  I turn and see that it is one of a circle of rocks, placed deliberately, at the foot of the mountain. The Chamois say to me through her eyes that this is where I am meant to be. I ask her, you mean to answer how I can move from being motivated by my ego to true Service?

 

I jump up onto the rocks and look down into the circle and I see that it is a crucible, waiting to be fertilised. I fertilise it, I see the drops of seed touching the ground and flowers and grasses spring up.

 

The first little death

 

The Chamois says Go! Run!

 

I run and run, the grasses and flowers suddenly shoot up all around me as I run, under my feet, all around me, the fertility and abundance is spreading all around me, rolling up the barren mountainside and plain all around me.

 

I come to a cliff and under it is a family of humans. The man and woman come to me and I ask them again; how do I move from being motivated by my ego to true Service? They strip me naked and then give me a smock made of goat hide. It has wide shoulders and slits for my head and arms. It smells of Goat and scratches my naked skin. They tell me to lie down.

 

I lie down and all the family come to gather around me. The woman looks at me with love in her deep eyes. The man asks me, are you ready? I do not know for what. I don’t move. He punctures the vein in my neck and as I hold the woman’s gaze, my blood leaves my body and soaks into the ground.

 

The second little death

 

I seep into the ground with my blood. I lie, warm and dark in the Earth, holding, waiting, waiting for something. There is nothing. Then I feel my whole body being taken away from me by tiny creatures, a piece at a time, until I am everywhere.

 

The third little death

 

I soar up out of the Earth and hover above the whole plain, bodiless.

 

I see in the distance the ocean and I fly to it and when I get there I return into my body and Dolphin is there and I ask him; how do I move from being motivated by my ego to true Service? I leap onto his back and, naked once again I swim with him. I feel the water over my body and we swim and swim and swim. I feel such delight and joy to be so dolphin-like and free in the water. I feel so elemental and free.

 

After a long distance, we arrive at a craggy island. Dolphin says for me to climb up. As I go ashore, a cormorant shits on me and tries to attack me. I ask him the same question: how do I move from being motivated by my ego to true Service?I realise I have kept my Goatskin, so I put it on and walk further up the cliff edge, up onto the soft bouncy grass and the cormorant leaves me alone.

 

When I am at the top, I lie down once more on the soft grass and I see a daisy who I eat. I feel it going down into my body and I turn into a daisy. Standing in the breeze, I am the flower and I am the Goatskinned human.

 

Shewolf tells me it is time to come back. I retrace the long journey; back through the ocean, over the plain, up the mountain, through the nerve centre and back up the tunnel, onto the first plain and into the cave.

 

…….

 

Do you see now?

 

Yes, I see. I know now. Thank you. The Wolf and the Stones, the Goat and the Humans, the Dolphin and the Cormorant and the Daisy have weaved their magic.

 

I can still feel the scratchy goatskin against my shoulders.

 

 

 

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.

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