Wild things…safety and balance

Recently I took a trip. Well actually I took a couple of trips, and they were quite different. So different it’s taken me a while to process and integrate them as being real, especially coming so close together. One was planned, and one out-of-the-blue. In early May I took a woodland Quest – disappearing into the woods alone for two nights and a day. At the end of May I had a car accident when driving to Scotland.

I took very little with me into the woods for my Quest (woollen jumper, blanket, hat and gloves, a sleeping mat and bivvy bag, knife, water, my drum, some string, and my journal). I didn’t take a rain coat and certainly no food. (I did take my phone but switched it off). I went alone. I slept under the trees and the stars. I watched the Plough constellation move across the sky above me. I didn’t Do much. I did a great deal of Being – watching and looking, quite a bit of dozing and dreaming. A spot of whittling and making hangings from twigs and leaves.

I watched as Tawny Owl flew past me at dusk, and perch over me at dark. I stared at Stag as he passed, barking at my presence on his patch. I clocked a passing Cuckoo perched in the Rowan Tree and laughed as he Cuckoo-ed three times and flew off. I watched Buzzard glide high, and squirrels, birds, and bees about their business.

I huddled under a rock and an Oak at night. In the day I kept company with a heavy broken ancient Oak at the top of the Dale looking across a vast Bluebell ocean. I heard the familiar stamping of Sheep in the pasture, lullabied with the calling of Lambs. I heard creatures unseen. I listened to Water rushing through rocks, Wind rustling young green leaves, and twigs snapping. I slept to the calling of Curlew. I woke to the bounty of Blackbird song.

I touched cold stone faces, soft grasses, warmed rough barks, wet leaves, and dry twigs. I felt freezing cold in the early hours wrapped up in my woollens, and overheated in the midday sun as I lay lizard-like on a rock. Spider, Slug, Beetle and Woodlouse crawled over me and into my boots. Mosquito bit me. I smelled wild garlic, hot tree, warm rock; I tasted bitter dandelion, peppery garlic, and lemony sorrel.

My senses were alert and open. I noticed then that the ONLY thing I was afraid of on my first night was a Man finding me: coming to steal, shoot, rape, threaten. A Man would be my predator. The only thing I avoided was humans on the public path. The only thing that jarred was the sound of the distant busy road. I guarded my silence and solitude, slinking back into the undergrowth, staying hidden and alone. By the second night, I wanted to stay out there. I felt safe, accepted, at peace.

A week or so later, I am travelling in this fast world of humans, surrounded by high-tech engineering in a metal box on wheels. Lights on, radio talking, sat nav directing, air-con cooling. Bagged up food and canned drink. I was less aware. Dulled by reliance on machines. And then SLAM! Out of nowhere a car hit us having lost a wheel in a collision with another vehicle….and three weeks on, with major hassles from an aggressive insurance company, I was still recovering. Physically OK but my nervous system severely shocked.

For a moment in panic, I felt robbed of my inner peace. Until I remembered my choice. No one has the power to make me feel a certain way – I can choose my reactions and emotions. But still, my nervous system has required support to release the impacts. It will take a while for it to work its way out again. I’ve needed support.

So here’s the thing. Where do I feel safe? Where do I feel in balance with life? Where does threat come from for me? I’ve been on the receiving end of violence in my life enough to feel afraid of men. Danger can arrive out of nowhere in our fast modern world and hit us. Out in the Wild is where I experience a profound sense of safety, belonging and calm. It’s where I feel supported, and nurtured: more my authentic-self than anywhere else in my life.

Of course, I realise that a couple of nights during an unusually dry and sunny weekend might be an island of idyllic unreality. Endless rain in sodden clothes for weeks may dampen my enthusiasm for wild-living! And I don’t know how I’d feel if there were Bears or Tigers. And of course, my lovely husband is evidence that not all men are here to harm.

But it’s still a Real Thing, this feeling safer on my own out in the woods than amongst humans.

And as I believe we incarnate with what we might understand as conscious soul choice, I have chosen to live in this fast modern technological phase of human evolution with all that it brings. So I’m not some victim of an arbitrary embodied human existence.

So what am I being shown? What does my soul yearn to have me acknowledge from these two trips?

The gap is widening between our increasingly complex material world and the natural world. As humans we have constructed a way of life that is largely cut-off from the other-than and more-than human. We seem to see ourselves as somehow ‘other’ – not natural creatures who are part of the food chain. And it seems like many of our actions in the name of progress are killing off the natural food chain. To me, it feels like we’re losing something in the progress.

But was it safe? someone asked me when I returned from my woodland Quest. Well, I’m here unharmed today! was my reply. I couldn’t say the same after a trip up the A90. There’s a dissonance I’m feeling increasingly loudly and this question made me realise that for many humans being out in nature has become more frightening than travelling in a metal box at high speed, killing bugs and bees as we go. My attention is being drawn to the polarity of my two experiences – the two places, the safe and unsafe, and how I live in both.

I’m watching baby Dunnocks get fed on the fence here outside my window as I write, and I know Cat is lurking across the field. I know that life isn’t always safe out there in the natural world. I’m not in denial. But it feels like there’s a lot more balance there than in our progressive human version.

Perhaps my purpose is not all that complicated, but is to simply keep in tune with myself as a natural being in a natural world. To not lose my own true nature in the noise and speed of human progress. To keep a balance in the two worlds. To dig deeper into my soul and talk, write, make, and paint about the way of the natural wildness of the world with others. To show up and be myself in a wild way.

Reach for balance. Seek balance. And be what I seek…in balance.

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