The land’s great grieving

“This is the one place which I don’t yet know how to leave. Which I can’t quite believe that I can leave. My place.” I keep coming back to that sentence, it seems. The last time I used it was May last year, at the point when we were finally getting ready to leave our house and croft at the end of the world, on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, for this little old cottage by the river in Donegal. I have written other posts about the place which I simply called the Rocky Place over the years; I hope regular readers of this blog will forgive me some repetition while I work my way up to a synthesis which is greater than the sum of these disparate threads, and to a new chapter in the story of that place.

This is a long story. I hope you will bear with me. There is no short way to tell it.

First, a little backstory. When we first moved to Lewis, back at the beginning of 2010, I fell in love with the land. We had bought a house and croft which was sandwiched between the sea and the mountains which form the border between Lewis and Harris, right at the end of ‘the longest cul-de-sac in Europe’, just before the road ran out at the abandoned village of Mealista. From our kitchen window, we could see St Kilda on a clear day. The beautiful district of Uig had once been properly inhabited, crofted, lived in. And then, little by little during the past few decades, it had been abandoned. The young people moved for work to the main island town of Stornoway, or emigrated. The old ones who stayed behind on the family crofts grew older, and eventually began to die. Incomers, drawn by the ‘scenery’, snapped up the empty houses, but few wanted to work on the land. By the time we moved to our part of Uig, it was barely inhabited.

At the time, this is what we wanted. We were jaded, tired of civilisation, deeply disenchanted with our species, out of ideas and all out of heart. We wanted wild. And so we moved to this beautiful, remote croft at the far end of the world. As well as working from home as publishers of books (at the time) and EarthLines Magazine,  we worked the land more intensively than we had done before: over the four years that we lived there, we kept two small flocks of pedigree sheep, two breeding sows, a milk cow, geese, ducks and hens. And a fairly large polytunnel. We also had two boisterous working sheepdogs (and, until he died, a rather lunatic golden retriver) who needed lots of exercise. And so, as well as my chores around the croft and my role as sole keeper of the polytunnel, I walked the beautiful, wild land around us twice daily for four years. Every morning, before the rest of the world was awake, I would take the dogs out onto the rocky headland, in all weathers. Down to the hidden tidal sandy beach, or along to the small bay where the tiny Breanish river runs into the sea. I would walk the same paths and sometimes explore new ones. I knew that land as I have never known anywhere else. I came to know which wildflowers grew where and when they should appear and whether they were late this year; I watched every spring for the oystercatchers to return, and then the lapwings, and then the whooper swans. Sea eagles were a regular sight; herds of thirty stags freely roamed the common grazing land. I knew it intensely in every season; I walked it in storms so fierce that I could hardly stand up, and I danced barefooted on hot sunny summer rocks. There was no-one else out there to fall in love with the land as I was falling in love; there was only ever me, and the dogs, and the land.

More than just knowing the place, I knew its stories. (In fact, I couldn’t divide the two. To me, a place is its stories; this was the place in which I came to truly understand that lesson.) We had moved from a croft in Lochbroom, on the north-west coast of the Scottish mainland, where in the hills opposite the house could be seen the reclining figure of a woman. I now lived in a house where, in the mountains opposite it, could be seen … the reclining figure of a woman.

Sleeping beauty sunset

There are a number of such locations throughout the islands and mainland Scotland, in which the shapes of specific mountains or ranges represent the silhouette of the reclining goddess of the land; the best-known of them is the Isle of Lewis’ ‘Sleeping Beauty’ mountain, known in Gaelic as Cailleach na Mointeach – the old woman of the moors, which can be seen at a distance from the Callanish stone circle on Lewis. I looked out onto our own reclining figure every morning when I opened the bedroom curtains; she dominated the landscape when I walked or worked the land. She was always there, a reminder of the old goddess of the land, whose stories exist still both in Scottish and Irish mythology. In the islands, the stories tell of her two aspects: Brigid (or Bride in the Hebrides) and the hard, stony blue-faced Cailleach (the Gaelic word for old woman, crone or hag). One version of the story says that the old woman of winter, the Cailleach, dies and is reborn as Brigid the spring maiden on the old festival day of Imbolc (February 1). She is fragile at first, but grows stronger each day as the sun rekindles its fire, and turns scarcity into abundance. But as autumn approaches and the light begins to fade she weakens again, and her sister the Cailleach begins to awaken. And by the old festival of Samhain (November 1) it is the Cailleach who rules this season, and Brigid who sleeps quietly in the hills. There are many stories about this battle for the seasons which takes place between Brigid and the Cailleach, but they can clearly be seen as two aspects of life in balance, of the need for both darkness and light, summer and winter, the cyclical nature of the world.

Wherever I walked, then, the stories of the land were made visible in the permanent features of the land. The silhouette opposite our house was clearly that of a young woman rather than a hag; to me, she represented Brigid. I found her sister, the Cailleach, by accident. While haunting the shoreline, in a hidden fragment of coast well below the ground level of the rest of the headland, I stumbled on the place which afterwards I only ever called the Rocky Place. My place. I recognised it as such the first moment I saw it. Vast expanses of slabbed rock extending underfoot like a multicoloured, layered carpet which slopes gradually down to smaller rocks, coated with emerald green algae, onto which the sea continually crashes. This undulating rock carpet is founded on Lewisian gneiss, one of the oldest rocks in the world; it slopes up to and is bounded by a long, curving, carved cliff face, perhaps the height of two average people.

Rocky place

There is a corner of the Rocky Place which is a shrine. Cliff walls provide a home to succulent plants and to a miniature version of Scots lovage; a pool at the base never dries up and is inhabited by a species of fairy shrimp, or maybe gammarus

LRgrotto

In the cliff face behind the pool, on a corner, is the silhouette of a hag, staring out to sea. The Cailleach. The old stories tell us that she stands in such places, looking out and waiting for her husband, the Bodach – identified in some of the old tales as Manannán Mac Lir, the Trickster god of the sea.

Cailleach2 moon LR

And then, around the corner from this Cailleach stone, I found a vast flat rock slab in an alcove up against the cliff face, which looked for all the world like a bed. You’ll see it in the image at the top of this post. I called it the Cailleach’s Bed, and one night I slept there under the late-August stars, with the Gasker light flashing way out to sea to the south of me, and the Flannan Isles lighthouse to the north. I was the Cailleach, and this was my stone bed.

And so, directly out of the land and the features of the landscape, I found those old stories … or maybe they found me. They became part of my life, and my life was part of the land as the stories were part of the land. Intrinsic, inseparable: me, the land, our stories. I hardly noticed how they were all beginning to entwine. Walking the land, I immersed myself especially in stories of the Cailleach. Here at the Rocky Place, I became Cailleach for a time. I sat there often by the shrine-pool, cross-legged. I stood for long periods of time by the side of that silhouetted Cailleach and stared out to sea with her, imagining the long ages and the unyielding rock and the unending power of the sea. I shared her vigil and told her all of my stories; I wept by her side when, for a few months, life became unbearably hard. Leaving that place a year ago was one of the most difficult things I have ever done; turning my back on that solitary old Cailleach stone felt like a betrayal.

But I took her with me, in my heart, that old Cailleach; when we left Lewis I took her memory to the Beara peninsula in south-west Ireland, where I sat by the side of An Chailleach Bheara, another stony old hag looking out to sea, and I told her stories of her sister in the north. I took with me more than that, though: I took away with me something which I struggle to put into words. I want to call it land-whispering, in the way that you might think of horse-whispering. A merging with the land, becoming the land, not only knowing but living within its stories. It is the deepest connection of all, a facility that can only come from years of grounding in a place. I took with me the knowledge that when you live as I lived, when you are with the land as I was with it during those years, you fall into its story. You become part of the land’s story of itself, part of the land’s dreaming. And no, that isn’t just a pretty phrase. When you reach out to the land in the way that I reached out, there are consequences. It communicates with you. It reflects you back to yourself. It teaches you. Above all, it tests you.

Sounds crazy? Maybe; I am old enough and grounded enough and sceptical enough not to worry about whether I seem crazy. There were experiences I had there (and some that David had there) which taught me that lesson. The four years that we spent on Lewis were mythic years. The land spoke to us in shattered ideals and dead totem animals. We learned the lessons of our life, and each one of them arose directly from the land. They were hard lessons, but they changed us. They were lessons we needed to learn. The land taught us, and it tested us.

I had a dream, the night after I first stumbled across the Rocky Place. It was a Big Dream. You know the kind: the kind you have just a few times in your life. The kind of dream you know is telling you something, though often enough you have no idea what. A Big Mythic Dream. I dreamed that the Rocky Place was peopled with animals, and these animals were the rocks in the cliff face and in the ground. In the cliff face above the shrine-pool was an eagle with outstretched wings, and above the Cailleach Bed was a stalking wolf with holes for eyes where the sky shone through. In a shallow channel of sea-water which I would somehow have to cross if I carried on walking in my dream, was a huge whale for a stepping stone. I could sense something stirring in the air around me, and it was a sense of power and of danger. If you tread on that sleeping whale, the place seemed to be saying to me, if you waken the animals, the sleeping heart of the rock, if you waken the sleeping power of this abandoned land, you never quite know just what it is you are going to awaken. Will you wake them anyway, the old stories? Will you do it? Will you do it, without fear of the consequences?

I put the dream to one side; I didn’t know what it meant. Three years later the image of that wolf with holes for eyes where the sky shone through came back to me in a powerful wave of understanding of my own needs and nature … but that is another story. What I understand now is that in merging myself so deeply with the land, I woke it up.

And then I left it.

Last February, I came to this little house by the river in Donegal, and spent a week here. It had just become mine, and in a few short months we’d be leaving Lewis for ever and moving here. I remember that I wondered which animal I would connect with here, which animal would become the animal I most resonated with in this landscape. Because ever since I had moved to a croft on the shore of a sea-loch in Lochbroom back in 2003, the animal I lived with which most captured my imagination was a seal. In that place, in the years before I met and married David and right up until the time we left for Lewis, I would walk down to the sea-loch early each morning and almost always there would be a solitary seal, grey head bobbing up and down in the water, watching me. I sat with it, sang to it, and it became a character in the novel I wrote in those years, The Long Delirious Burning Blue. If there is such a thing as a totem story, the story of the Selkie, the seal-woman who lost her skin, became mine. And when we moved to Lewis, on those long early-morning walks with the dogs down by the shore, most mornings we would find a seal there too. A single, solitary seal. I returned to Lewis after that first week in this new house last February, and the seal was dead on the beach.

We left Lewis because it had become clear to us that for all the stunning beauty of the land and the depth of my connection to it, we needed to move away from the island. There were a number of reasons for that, and a year later it is equally clear that it was the right decision. The work I’m doing now couldn’t have been done there, though it was for sure conceived there, a product of my intense relationship to the place where we had lived and worked for four years. But because I had had a difficult couple of years, because some hard things happened there, when we moved to Ireland I turned my back on the island. It wasn’t that I didn’t look back on the land with love; it is a place to which I lost my heart. It was, and always will be, my heart-place. I was firmly assimilating the lessons from those four years, but I wanted to put it all behind me, to move on, to focus just on the joy of returning to Ireland, and the pleasure of trees again, and the river and the green. I wasn’t sure I ever wanted to go back to Lewis. Although in a slow island property market our house and croft at the end of the world remain unsold, and so it would be the easiest thing in the world to return, I have never done so.

Last week, David returned to Lewis for a few days, to carry out some maintenance on the house. I asked him while he was there to go to the Rocky Place, and he did. Here is what he found: the Cailleach’s Bed has gone.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Yes, there are big storms in the islands, and yes, big storms can move rocks. I once was trained as a scientist; I was trained to be a sceptic. I understand that water, under great pressure, forced into gaps and crevices, can do remarkable things.

Moving an enormous, thick slab of pure rock, bigger in both dimensions than a single bed. Lifting it completely out of the alcove which it so tightly fit, out of which it had formed, and casting it aside.

For sure.

And yet … just this particular impossibly large and heavy rock? Which was so firmly wedged into its place?

You may wonder what I am trying to tell you here. Am I filled with delusions of grandeur? Do I imagine that because I left the land, the Rocky Place had no more need for a Cailleach’s Bed and spat it out? That the land is still speaking to me, still trying to tell me something, that there is still a lesson here to be learned? That the land is in some way communicating? I can’t possibly be trying to tell you such a thing – it would be ridiculous – and yet I suppose I am. I am astonished to find myself sharing this story at all. But there are important things about our relationship with the land that I have learned, and I believe it is important to pass them on. This intertwining of human, land, story is the foundation of my work. And so I am trying, clumsily, to say that both things are true: that a storm of course moved the Bed, but that it is no mere coincidence. Because when you become part of the land’s dreaming, such things happen.

Do you think that’s a silly idea? Do you think that the land isn’t alive, that I’m just making things up, seeing significance where it doesn’t exist, foolishly anthropomorphising?

Whatever else I may be trying to tell you, I can tell you this for sure: the land is alive. And everything is animate, in its own way.

In the beautiful Irish documentary film Silence, by director Pat Collins, sound engineer Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhride returns to Ireland for the first time in fifteen years. His intention is to record landscapes free from man-made sound. And he finds such things, in the dwindling of human culture in a west-coast landscape which once was filled with life. But as his journey progresses, voices begin to superimpose themselves on the apparent silence which he is recording: the ghosts of history and memory, the enduring hauntings of emigration and exile. The sounds of the old generations may now be lost, but they have left their traces in the landscape. They are part, still, of the land’s dreaming. The long intertwinings of humans with the land have consequences for both.

And so the Bed has gone. There was a lesson still to be learned from my time in Lewis, and I am learning it right now. The land is still teaching. The lesson, I think, is this: when you become part of the land’s dreaming, you can’t just turn your back on it. You can’t just walk away, even when you walk away. If you wake the sleeping rock-giants, you have a responsibility. And so, finally, with many old wounds healed, I am turning my face back to Lewis, looking at it again, thinking about visiting, thinking about how I will draw these two lands and their stories together, these two places, with their two Gaelic cultures, so long interlinked and intertwined … that new story is yet to emerge. But meanwhile, I bring my land-whispering to this new place, to this magical old country where the giants never went to sleep and the old gods never left.

There are those (if they read this far) who will no doubt accuse me of being unreasonably human-centric, as if in some way I’m saying that the land needs us, as if I’m just repeating the old paradigm, with humans as the centre of the universe. The land will go on without us, some people will say, and indeed it will. It doesn’t need us, and indeed it doesn’t. But when you actively forge a relationship with anyone or anything, there is power on both sides. Power, and responsibility. And the potential for grief when the relationship breaks up.

Because whatever else I might be trying to say, and whether or not I am crazy or sane, I am asking you this. We talk always about our grief at leaving the land, when we leave a place we have loved. The grief of the emigrant, the yearning for the land we once inhabited. But what if, when we leave it, the land grieves for us?

Oh, what do we do then?

31 thoughts on “The land’s great grieving

  1. I appreciate your interwoven sense of land, language and myth. It’s very powerful as well as very moving. It’s no wonder that you talk of the possible grieving of land for people, as well as people for land.

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    1. Thank you. I’ve struggled often (even though I’ve used them) with words like ‘reconnecting’ to the land, and what that might actually mean in practice. I’ve always found it hard to describe what I mean by it, until David brought home that photograph, and something in me both broke and settled.

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  2. I don’t think I took one single breath the whole while I read this…and it is not a short tale. I could go on and on about how it resonates with me, how I believe and don’t find you one bit crazy, how I cried at the thought of that dead seal, the grieving land…but won’t. Just know that, at the end of this post when I finally took a breath, I breathed it in and the air of it changed me. I’ll carry it in my lungs all day. Goodness, Sharon, I’ll carry it, clutched, Forever.

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    1. Thanks, Erin. That’s all I care about, really 🙂 That some people will listen, and hear. That maybe we’ll start to think more not just about the physical damage we humans inflict on the land, but something else, something more subtle, through our thoughtlessness.

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  3. An interesting idea Sharon, and quite possible, the land lives that’s for certain and will respond with the right care, trust and understanding so when that carer leaves why shouldn’t it react. Food for thought which could be quite frightening.

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    1. Yes. That’s the question, isn’t it. What would change in us, in our approach to the land, if we really believed that to be true? Sometimes we would still have to go, but we might leave differently …

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  4. This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. In part because it echoes my own experience with ‘land-whispering’ so well. I believe every single word of what you’ve told here – the ‘crazy’ version – because I know it to be true. I have a similar bond to the place where we live and, as we have vague, distant ideas of leaving at some point, my heart already hurts and I can’t imagine it without crying. Recently I had an extraordinary experience that I have been unable and unwilling to write about but you have me thinking that perhaps I should try. And who cares if people think I’m crazy? I was there. It happened. Thank you so much.

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  5. I am sitting here weeping tears of memories and thanks…you have spoken the words that were in my heart years ago when I left the land that had fed me for over 20 years…it was my teacher, my church, my protector, my companion. Not one week after I left there, an average rain swelled the valley’s creek with such a force to create an impassable chasm to where I had my sacred space. I was shocked and at the same in awe of the ‘choice’ the land had made to completely shift. I had no doubt that the feelings I had of needing to leave, although painful, were validated…and reflected! The stones of the medicine wheel would surely dance about and gradually be absorbed to recharge and transform. Not long after that my goat, who was often my companion on my forest and hillside walks and whom I had left there being the only home he had ever known, died in my arms. I had visited him often and was always met with loud and desperate cries. What he taught me on that day was about ‘the energy it takes, and dis-ease which comes from, wishing things were different’. I have never forgotten the power of those words as they led me through many life changes. So I thank you from a deep place in my soul for sharing this amazing journey…and reminding me of my own. Blessed Be *

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    1. Thanks for sharing this, Joyce. Yes, that sense of the need to leave being validated … I find the idea of the land grieving curious in a sense, because I felt as if it was the land itself that had been showing me how badly I needed to leave. I wrote about that separately here http://reenchantingtheearth.com/2013/11/17/the-lessons-of-place/ – there is some repetition with this article where I’ve combined threads, but the sense of being ‘out of my element’ in the place at the same time as loving it with all my heart was a strange one. I still believe that some places are meant to be temporary, that they teach us things and then we must move on, but like any relationship which ends amicably on both sides, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t often grief. The revelation was that yes, the grief may well be on both sides.

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      1. I knew I was leaving that land for maybe 2 years. I would often just sit and allow that grief to wash over me. The day I was ‘told’ my tipi, which had witnessed and cocooned many ceremonies and passages, was to pass on to another and that the land that had held it in its hand was to be burned with sacred fire, brought me to the place where I could finally leave with a deep peace knowing that my time there was complete. I do feel though at times that the land there, although still beautiful, may know it’s ‘lover’ has left. I think even a house has a lack of sheen when it’s people who love it are just away on vacation or for a season! The land in its timelessness holds all that has been and ever will be…can we doubt its connection to, and desire for, our love ?
        Thank you for this thread. I am SO loving everyone’s expressions of appreciation and soul felt response.

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  6. Thank you for putting into words your love and grief for the earth. You are blessed to experience our connection to the land so powerfully. When my physical body connects with the earth, her seasons and her sufferings, I, too, love and grieve for her and for us; we are inseparable. I take care of my small bit of land with reverence.

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    1. Thanks, Paula, and it’s good to know there are so many others out there who can feel this too. It seems as though I have taken the best part of a lifetime to learn it fully, and perhaps (for me, at least) the extremity of a place like Lewis was needed to cut through the usual clutter which so often prevents us from merging fully with the land. There, there was nothing else! But once it’s done, I don’t think it goes away …

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  7. A deeply moving post Sharon, resonating very powerfully for me as one whose relationship with the land is so profoundly embedded in my experience of life. Many emotions flowed in the reading of your words and all that you expressed. A voice to be heard in these times of chaos and destruction. A voice to re-awaken our love.

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  8. Thank you Sharon for sharing this. It is encouraging, as well, to read the comments – which give me hope for our Earth and the places that nourish and teach us – and that we in turn nourish and in which we abide. Your story brought tears for the places I’ve known intimately – which have changed so dramatically – and for those places I’ve left for other lives. I read your post this morning right after finishing a February post in The Guardian by Robert Macfarlane about saving language for place – storing those words as if in a seed bank. (http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/27/robert-macfarlane-word-hoard-rewilding-landscape) It is wonderful that these thoughts are being given voice and that they are making their way out to the rest of us. Thank you for your insights (and David’s too) – what a blessing.

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    1. Thanks, Rags. Yes, I’m encouraged, for sure 🙂 I’ve felt for a long time that land is the most important teacher we have. Not just the animals and plants, but the land itself.

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  9. Dear Sharon, Thank you. I have a hard time expressing these thoughts and feelings that you have such a talent for but I will say that I moved to my property in the foothills of the Smoky Mtns with my wife and children in 1979. My wife and I felt such a strong pull and connection with this land and we made our careers making art that was generated by our connection to the devas and spirits of the land. For many years we walked the land daily with our dogs and I spent considerable time clearing and maintaining trails all over the property so we could be close to those spirits. The children have all moved away, my wife and dogs have all passed on and I have felt some pull to leave the land where I am lonely. But what you have just written has inspired me to not be so quick to pack up and leave. That by reconnecting with the land and trees, I may have much more to learn and maybe I can find a better way to come to peace with the spirits before I leave. Thank you so much. You are truly gifted in many ways.

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    1. Ah, the beautiful Smokies. Yes, sometimes we have to go. Humans need community – remote Lewis taught me that, after a lifetime of thinking that I was a hermit at heart and didn’t need people! And for me, the pull to come back to Ireland was as much out of a need for people and music and laughter as for a country that has felt like home since I was four years old. But yes, to do the parting mindfully and with love for the land you’re leaving. That’s the thing. I hope you find some peace out of the grieving there has been. Maybe that reconnection (and comfort) comes in understanding that perhaps, just perhaps, the land has grieved with you.

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  10. I so enjoyed reading this. Thank you so much for sharing such deeply beautiful movements and moments from your life. I resonate so strongly with your words and deep love and connection with the land and all of nature.
    Much Love, Jacinta Lawrence.

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  11. i don’t doubt for a moment that it’s true — that the land to which we bind ourselves with stewardship and reverence would whisper back to us….and grieve for us when we are no longer there.

    when we first moved here to our little patch, i felt very profoundly that the land was stand-offish…that it was distant and reserved. i took that to mean it hadn’t been cared for in quite some time….it was farmed and lived-on but not cherished. slowly, as we’ve made our home here, things have changed….the wildlife has returned and the trees and i are getting to know one another….;) of course, a person could argue that it’s simply a familiarity with the place, but i like to believe differently 😉

    it’s much the same notion, i think, as that sudden “recognition” that i’ve experienced sometimes…that of knowing a soul-home…if that makes sense?! that’s happened to me several times over the years…places which felt like “home” and whose pulse i felt thrumming under my feet.

    thank you for writing this — for sharing your experiences, it’s come to me at just the right time. xo

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    1. Yes, I’ve felt that recognition, too, and it goes well beyond the issue of whether a place is simply ‘attractive’ to you. It’s some strange sense of your feet being in the right place … thanks for sharing!

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  12. I am so in resonance of what you write about and would love to read more about your life in Scotland. It’s the land of my soul and I am called by it every day. Do you have any more stories to read please?

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    1. Hi Natalia, we’re now based in Ireland and didn’t/don’t write much about day-to-day life, but I’m sure there are lots of blogs out that that do! Thanks for reading.

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    1. Yes, I’m learning about rivers here in Donegal now, for the first time. I’ve always been drawn by water but a river is a new thing (whereas to my husband, who grew up in rivers, it is all quite familiar). It’s a strange Tricksterish kind of energy, but after all the hard old rock and raging seas of the Outer Hebrides, it’s very wonderful! Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Thank you for this beautiful story! I feel so called to Ireland, but there is something magical about Scotland, too — to live in a place where the old stories and the giants remain. I am facing this issue of leaving land here, in Northern Indiana, where I am nurturing a horribly abused piece of land into its own little faery ecosystem. After living in some of the most beautiful spots in North America, to find myself here in this GMO corn and soy, flat, industrial farm and factory land is painful to both heart and soul. The land cries out.

    My partner is here to transition his parents in this next phase of their lives, but it has become clear that I am here primarily to transition the land back into beauty, harmony and love — from being one of the worst lots in one of the most abused areas of the country, a lot hated by all the neighbors — into a place people pass with love in their hearts. A few weeks ago, it looked as though we might find a loophole to be able to leave sooner than expected, to find a place again where the land nurtures us. I even found a 3 acre property for sale on sacred, restored land with a forest, but then, I felt the land here begin to weep. If I don’t finish this time here, who will? The land does cry out even when we think of leaving, especially when we have nurtured, and loved that land in ways most humans have forgotten how to do.

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful places where the land still speaks loudly. Our land here has begun to murmur again as I continue to plant and care for her, but it feeds the soul to see and hear of places where the land feels strong. All land is sacred, but some spots remember that more than others. 🙂 Many blessings!

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    1. Thanks, Laura. It is always hard to stay with the broken places, but there’s magic to be found everywhere, as you are discovering. It’s a different kind of magic in those strange edgelands, but the land still lives … Blessings on your good work!

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  14. I read this post when it first appeared and wept by the end of it. So profound and so moving. When on has truly connected to the land/scape and its deities and spirits I cannot fathom the pain. I am living now in a place where I have set roots deep, and the deities, ancestors and land commune and communicate with me. We forget the land and the presences in/within it have an animate life beyond the roiling and churning liquid magma core upon which our landmasses lurch and slide. How could it not grieve along with us. The language you use in telling this is haunting and powerful. Thank you for these words.

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