I sit here with Tulla, my inherited dog, by my feet in the morning, tucked in the corner of our living room between two open windows, that let the gentle sounds of a sleepy rain in. The leaves sound as though bending with droplet crystals that dance down towards the earth saying a thousand "wake-ups". Tulla and I move together at home, often her jumping up from the sofa she has claimed as her own, once cream and now a pale shade of grey, to my armchair as she is now, which by the way she sneaks into when she doesn't think I am looking. I always feel there's an invisible thread connecting both of us, as well as Geordie my partner who still sleeps upstairs, his gentle breathing visible in my mind. There's a peace in these moments, a quieting of the mind, that I strive so desperately to find in my daily life, when simply all I need to do is remind myself to take a moment, tune in, and as Robyn Wall Kimmerer says, "remember to remember." When I listen to the rain, or the birds chattering in our woodland jungle, I feel as though I have journeyed through the centuries to perhaps how things used to be, where we lived in a mutual, reciprocal, and generous relationship with nature, and thus with others. For land and and humans are so inextricably interconnected, to separate one from the other is to deplete us of our identity, our spirituality, our intuition, and our deep feeling of home and hearth.
Its so easy to fall prey to hopelessness today where our children are faced with a world of fear, that news agencies are so eagerly looking to perpetuate. The younger generations have no conscious memory other than this dim view of humankind's 'un-relationship' with nature, perhaps a side-affect of our 'ever-advancing' technological age. Robyn Wall Kimmerer's words "remember to remember" come to my mind again, suggesting that in our unconscious memory, or spiritual heritage or make-up, if we are honest with ourselves there is a deep longing to be one with Mother Earth, to be reunited with Her, for originally we were, and practiced ways of living that maintained this relationship, for the mutual wellbeing of each and every thing. Marija Gimutas, who I have written on before, and Dr Heide Göttner-Abendroth, Professor of Modern Matriarchal Studies call this a gift economy, and rewrites history to show that indeed there was another way of living that celebrated giving, nurturing, sustenance; and where 'feeling' was chiefly how we interacted with others and the world around us.
Young children's connection to the land around them seems truly magical at times, like an animal moving not in the wild, but with the wild. I often just watch my niece, a wild child in all senses. My sister certainly provided the 'climate' for this naturalness with nature, and I think that is a gift so precious that she gave Anouk. But she never taught her the things she has to say about nature, how she feels within in it, that seems to come from deep within her, from a place that is far older than her years. She, like most young children, unless there has been trauma, are one with the world around them, they seem to feel the earth's heartbeat and pulse along with it. And so as a teacher, I often ask myself who is it that really needs the learning? My answer is always the same: adults, and that children, and nature are our greatest teachers, if only we had the mind to become grateful students. .