The woodland flowers have brought their deep magic beneath the trees, blue-mauves and clear whites, the golden shots of archangel in the undergrowth. By mid-May we are just past the zenith of this soft dream of colour as green leaves fill out the canopy and the dappled forest floor becomes a quieter, peaceful place of seed heads, crunchy leaves and soft humus. Now the wood is filled with heart. So full and blooming, so sated with itself as all arrives in balance, in a still, fecund state of attainment. Each of us is a carrier of life at this moment, blessed with a task that may not feel of our choosing. At times, it may be simply to dwell in this place where the blossoms gather in the dusk and the birds sing an ancient wild prayer of belonging. At others, the world is leaning in ever closer, demanding attention, awakening and transformation. The notes of evening music pierce me with a sweet knowing – that belonging is in the love and harmony of here; of life flowing from one incarnation to the next. Belonging is waiting right here for us to grasp…but it is also a learning: to inhabit our own truest natures, finding the doors and windows of the safe-houses society has constructed within our psyches and flinging them open, however rusted and obscured they may have become over the long winter of our sleeping.
In springtime, our power expands with the eruption of life; the pressure to grow, to emerge, to blossom is intensifying. The call is vast and penetrating to break through the fetters within our own heads and do something daring, like the first step over the edge of the nest, or the compulsion to swarm away from the honeyed safety of the hive and forge a new home. The clarity of spring came late this year on a tide of frosted nights and aching dryness. The usual season of growth and exuberance was strangely quiet. At last with May the world is quenched again and the land is greening and abundant. The pathways of sweet saps and rising blossoms open themselves to us now, spaces of wonder where the tendrils of the heart may unfurl way beyond what we think we know, who we think we are. Our beings are fertile at this time of year with numberless seeds scattered over seasons past, each with its own exquisite potential, green and heart filled sparks quietly longing to be realised in a riotous uprising.
The unprecedented increase in public control and surveillance over the past year perhaps heightens and highlights our awareness of internal constraints. Watching the fierce battle for ‘safety’ in the face of an ‘invisible enemy’ playing out across the world is illuminating many of the assumptions, values and power systems that enmesh our culture – and enmesh each of us, in whatever ways our upbringings and life experiences have chanced to catch us in the matrix. The heady blossoms high in the apple boughs and hawthorns beckon us upwards for a fresh view, scrape knee-d with twigs caught in our hair, to see the rutted deep beliefs and limitations that inevitably steer our course. The habitual behaviours, the well-practiced sabotaging of wilder impulses, the close protection of perceived security…a step away from these anchors can seem like an unknowable and confusing chaos. What does it look like and how does it feel to stride out into the untracked wilderness? To peel back the cobwebs and let in the memory-laced breeze? This is no escapist dream of mountains and tundra untouched by human activity, but a questing for illumination of the regions of our minds and emotions that did not fit the job description, which have been suppressed and overridden by a survivalist drive to fit in and prosper within the prevailing cultural narrative as well as our personal stories.
We are living in remarkable days, when human ingenuity and innovation threatens the very fabric of what makes life good…perhaps even what makes life viable. Technologies, within holistic cultures that honour and respect the more-than-human earth, express in a healthy way the incredible creative capacities that we all harbour. Within toxic, destructive cultural systems that measure and record an inert, deadened earth, technology can become dangerous. I have sincere doubt that it is possible to experience profound, creative connection with the natural world and with each other, when our attention is locked within a screen-gated, artificial universe. Yet, I wonder how the vision inherent in digital technologies and AI shapes our imaginations and sense of possibility – whether we choose a device-mediated route to explore these potentials, or turn back to the older and more innate technologies of nature connection and the mysteries of our own bodies, how does our dreaming now differ from that of our ancestors? And how many of us are dreaming of a technology that is in harmony with nature and all living systems? Light frequencies surround us, emanating from plants, minerals, other animal creatures. We are not alone, away from the social media feeds and email inboxes. It is a case of tuning back in to the ancient languages, half forgotten yet achingly familiar, rich with wisdom and growth that is organic, unprescribed, fiercely our own. We may feel the fear of plunging over the precipice, while cocooned within the safe tether of the known…but what if something waits to catch us out there,that is so much more than anything we can presently dream? I pray we may all find the grace and courage to open up to a wider seeing, that we can find some holding in our greatest vulnerability and witnessing for the beauty and immensity of what we most essentially are.
Author : Elizabeth Crawford
Elizabeth Crawford is a basket maker and herbalist living cooperatively in South Devon. Her work and life explore beauty, embodiment and deep relationship with the land as pathways to belonging within a wild and changing world. www.foragedfutures.co.uk