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  • Writer's pictureSara McFarland

I don't understand this world

I'm not from here... I am reminded of this every day- through the language, culture, the questions and most recently, the total shift of ecosystem. My animal body and my human/earth consciousness don't know swampy boggy land. Each day is a revelation of new places- both human and other than human. Like the bog, the ground gives way under my psycho-emotional feet at unexpected places. Or things shapeshift and change, like when I think I can get easily from here to there and begin to walk, until I realise it will take me an hour to go around the bog to end up at a place 50 meters from where I was standing.

Moving house always seems to bring up the deep seeded, still underground nestled wounds and fears. They sprout and stretch toward the light, finally thankfully ready to be seen… And I am able to see and hold them, tenderly, like the first new shoots of snowbells. The changes of Ecosystem that my body navigates are filled with discovery as well as exhaustion and surprise. What comes to haunt me again and again, which I know from ages hence, perhaps centuries, is the need to deal with human stuff: banks, postal forms and changing my address everywhere, new roads to drive and towns to learn- simple questions like where do I go grocery shopping? Or, to which state agency do I need to go to register my address? And the internet that needs to be activated and takes a week or three to sort and then it is the fault of the company that it wasn’t working and everything is delayed, so that I have a week of no internet although I work at home on the computer, still isolated in my little nest. And with every little threshold, every little obstacle, every little or bigger crisis and every box carried and unpacked and shlepped, I get more and more exhausted. In such moments, I am painfully confronted by the modern paradigm and the culture within which we live. Through the moving, I can see more clearly the structures and routines and trained ways of thinking that are engraved into the pathways of my psyche.

There is part of me that cannot handle this human civilisation life. This part is in constant overwhelm and often wailing with grief or agony, or simply frozen in confusion and shame. This part of me does not understand cars or planes, or electric stoves or computers. This part of me is scared of those things. This part of me is grieving for the earth connected culture she was not born into, but should have been. This part of me feels permanently exiled from modern civilisation. This pat of me cannot do it alone, cannot live like my Palaeolithic ancestors alone. Because living alone meant death then, and now… This part of me doesn’t want to live in a house, it wants to light fire every day and cook over it. It wants to be making pots out of clay from the place by the river my ancestors have always gathered clay. The part of me wants to hunt deer and use every part of the animal and is not disgusted by the flavours of liver and lung. This part of me knows how to suck the marrow and tan the hide and make flint knives, but hasn’t yet had the chance to remember this in their hands. This one knows without a shadow of a doubt, that she is home on this Earth and is listening to the dreaming and the songs of the ecosystems and wild beings within the ones she loves and visits and lives alongside of. This one shouts with Heron, as they fly overhead in the morning from the lake into the great sky that awaits, over the humans and wild ones alike into the feathered hunger of their days.

Here, in my new home, there is a picture window. This morning the sky was red and orange cloud streaked blue. During the day, I take refuge there in front of the heater with a cup of coffee and watch the world- sunrise, cranes or crows or heron or geese flying by. Deer munching or running. At night, I lean back in my chair and watch the moon and stars moving through the sky… Kaseopeia, Pleiades, Taurus, Orion, the big and little dog, Gemini… When I go out for walks in the afternoon, I smell fox, walk through the places in the fields where the wild boar have torn up the ground for sedge tubers. I walk to the lake along the edge brook and cross the waterways that have been cut into the earth to drain the fields. The fields for the cranes and which maybe twice a year are mowed for horses to have hay. I could watch the cranes and the grasses and the water ripples from the wind for hours. I could sit with the torn up overturned grubbed patches of black earth where the boar happily ate and lose my human consciousness in the mind of soil and water and mycelium and furred creature. Collecting jay feathers from a kill site and a big mother of pearl shell from the place where the brook flows into the lake, all of my actions are a conversation with the wild world around me. Being human is just another kind of animal consciousness among other earth dwellers. I slip past the civilised parts of myself and fly with the cranes.

A friend told me she had never heard the cranes calling. Usually, I heard them on their flight south or north flying above. I would stop what I was doing and run out to hear them. I told my friend, oh, it is so incredibly beautiful… it’s like God’s soul singing down to you and inviting you to fly along… I just lifts you up into the winds when you hear it… it’s like church in the best way. That’s where I live now. Where the wolves run through the forest and the cranes and the herons fly overhead. I can’t share with you what that means tome and what happens in my body when I settle into sharing their ecosystem. Now, I don’t live in a city, caged and waiting to be let out. Now, I live where they live.

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