Finding the words
As I write this, I’ve been ‘on retreat’ from Instagram (my only real online activity) for two months. Recently, I’ve been checking in on friends but haven’t felt at all like posting to my account.
I had a few reasons for stepping away - family illness, and a growing distaste for being a Zuckerberg product, among them - but right from the start there was one reason that resonated through me every day.
I’d been out walking here at home in Wiltshire. There’s a hedge I pass that’s small, narrow and tall; just a bit of a windbreaker between a crop field and a paddock. It was autumn, and the field maple trees that make up most of this hedge were holding on to a few last leaves, by now that glorious, rich golden colour that embodies the season.
It was a bright, clear day with a bright, clear sky. Looking up I saw these glowing leaves, right at the top of the tree, gently dancing in the wind. I was transfixed. In that moment I thought, “I’m so glad I don’t feel the need to take that photo for Instagram.” After all...the blue, the gold, the light...perfect, right? Instead I could simply stand and watch the movement, the Life, the fleeting moment as it really is, instead of trapping it into a little square that carries none of the energy passing through. Others may have the skill to facilitate that but I do not; I was happy to simply feel it.
I’ve become re-devoted to these moments of Life. I use a capital L for Life because for me it’s a thing, an entity, an energy, a power that is more than worthy of my devotion. It’s worth a bzillion Insta hearts.
So why am I here, writing a post to introduce myself to a new blog that I will no doubt promote through my Instagram account?
I want to share the beauty of this piece of land in the hope that it will perhaps inspire a relationship with your natural home. That between us we can learn to relate to, engage and even communicate with the wild life that shares this planet, one little patch at a time. But more than that, as climate crisis and human exceptionalism destroy vast swathes of the planet and her inhabitants, I can’t help but feel the world needs some kind of magic, and words are spells. As we write, speak, chant and meditate on a vision of a whole ecosystem - healthy, abundant, diverse and fully integrated - maybe we can inspire the action that will pull this mess we’ve made back from the edge.
A writer by temperament and profession, I feel the pull to try to bring Life into these squiggles and symbols - written and spoken - so that it can flow on, through animal, vegetable, and mineral. I’m a believer in the power of the individual as a unique, valuable member of a community. Every little light helps to illuminate the path home, and Common Ground is our light. We hope to give a voice not just to ourselves, but all the beings who share this home.
I hope you’ll find beauty, interest, love, wonder, humour and above all a sense of our kinship with the other-than-human world here. That this will provide a path to your own common ground.