I am starting to explore the Tree Ogham and one of the trees is the gorgeous Elder. A song for the Elder was one of two songs I learnt at Findhorn last year and here is one part of the song described beautifully by the co-creator:
I had the joy of attending a course with Jon Young at Findhorn in Spring time last year. It was one of those precious experiences that will percolate for my life time and for which I am deeply grateful. The above talk beautifully articulates why nature connection is so important.
Active Hope is a practice. Like tai chi or gardening, it is something we do rather than have. It is a process we can apply to any situation, and it involves three key steps. First, we take a clear view of reality; second, we identify what we hope for in terms of the direction we'd like things to move in or the values we'd like to see expressed; and third, we take steps to move ourselves or our situation in that direction.
Since Active Hope doesn't require our optimism, we can apply it even in areas where we feel hopeless. The guiding impetus is intention; we choose what we aim to bring about, act for, or express. Rather than weighing our chances and proceeding only when we feel hopeful, we focus on our intention and let it be our guide.
Taken from Active Hope: How to face the mess we're in without going crazy
by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone
Its been over 400 days now since I started my nature connection practice.
So I have walked my way through the seasons, in the park beyond the garden, more deeply this past year than ever before. My sit spot tree is now a canopy of green with its candelabra in full flower as ants work their way up and down its bark. This time of year, I sit at a distance from the trunk with its semi circle of ant doorways dotted in the soil, to prevent injury to the insects that have made the tree their home. I touch the grass and the hairs of the earth pull me into the world below, as the sun draws me to the sky above. The tendrils of me have spread outwards to the world around. The corvids that collect at stages on my route, call me from the house when I have stayed indoors too long and walk alongside me at a distance when I move through the fields. I delight in their flight, I know their voices on instinct, though not always their meaning and I feel the threads twist and turn between us. These connections grow every time I walk out with the intention and awareness that I have begun to uncover within myself.
This week I was walking home from my sit spot aware of a flicker of anxiety around what the next day would bring, with reason, but then worry always marries itself to reason. It was dusk and the fields were nearly mine alone in terms of human presence. My eye was drawn to a bird on the wing, at first glance the size of the silhouette recalled a gull in my mind but as it descended and neared me I realised the outline of the head was too long and thin and the wing span larger, I heard the wing beat as it curved closer and in that moment of passing I knew it was the heron, I turned to watch it glide towards the then shallow river and disappear from view. There is a feeling in bird flight that lifts me upwards each time, a soul leap that expands me from 'just this'. Its the first time this year I have seen the heron in flight and for a moment it was only the two of us in the field together, another thread reaching out towards forever.
Two days earlier was a kingfisher day. I have had three this year. They invariably arise at the same spot in the river. I stand with father time behind me, staring across at the three sisters waving on the bank opposite, positioned at one end of the slow curve of the river's bend and I watch and listen. On this particular occasion I was playing with words in my mind, me and the stream conversing a little about dreams and the moment the words 'dream keeper' danced into my mind so did the kingfisher, that breathtaking flicker of electric blue that is always in motion and unmistakable, flying through those words and out of sight before I could exhale. Each time I want to hold that sight, to keep that brilliant blue in my eyes for longer, but its real magic is in its fleeting surprise. That touch of iridescence that shimmers beyond the fixity of things.
Kingfisher days remind me that beyond the seeming fixity of things there are these threads of endless possibility that dance between everything. To feel those threads, to twist them into cords and ropes, I have to turn up each day with that willingness to listen, to connect and sometimes that connection is kingfisher blue, the keeper of dreams.
It was the night before the moon turned red. I was on a moor with a cat curled on my left shoulder, resting her face softly against my head and a beautiful lurcher laying the length of my left side. My eyes were closed and I was searching for the sleep both animals had found, when the stag barked. All three of us started at the sound, cat and dog switching from dream time to predation, I could feel the quiver of the chase shaking beside me as all of us moved upright together, intent on the outside. I didn't see the stag, even in the moonlight, but I will never forget that sound and the feeling of proximity to a being that is both beautiful and wild.
In my city life I throw those cords out to the beautiful wild everyday. It is mainly birds that brighten that way. Each time something in me sparks anew, its my life line to some essential part, that grows more restless in the concrete spaces, with the cars and careers that surround it. How I feel the earth in my bones again is part of my journey back to the wilder places.