From water to air: gratitude, awe and devoted obsession

I want to share something with you. A new collection of writing using the 5 elements as its structure: Water, Fire, Earth, Metal, Air.

This summer has been shaped and moulded by a force greater than any I’ve known (or at least that I can remember). Stepping into parenthood has been one of the most profound experiences I’ve ever experienced.

And yet, although I’ve been a writer my whole life, and words are how I shape and make sense of my days, I haven’t shared an awful lot of what has been going on.

My Letters from the Land have continued to reflect on the late summer blooming around me; on the birds, plants, skies and clouds I observe as the year rolls inexorably on.

This is somewhat unusual, especially in the soul-baring online world we roam in.

So much of what I read these days encourages us to look inwards. To examine our identity, overcome our hangups, probe our fears and motivations. And yes, that kind of navel-gazing can be valid. Necessary, even, for those of us who are ready to awaken and be part of a different way of living in the world, to reject old paradigms and stand for something different.

But there is a limit to how much we can change and grow when we’re incessantly thinking about our own selves.

Looking out, not in

Connecting to the seasons, which is the reason The Seasoned Year exists, means looking outwards. Quite literally, gazing out of the window and really seeing: what are the trees doing? What do the birds sound like? How does the air feel on my skin?

This kind of approach, this looking out, observing, achieves several things.

Often it leads me to simple gratitude: an awareness of how rich and glorious the creation around me is. How intricate, marvellous and precise the world can be.

There’s something else there, too: a sense of awe. Of being humbled, made small, by how great the world around me is. Realising I’m a tiny part of a much, much larger web: a little throbbing pulse in a vast sea of living beings.

And the outcome is a kind of devoted obsession. A shift in perspective that means whatever troubles I think are so important, whatever thorny existential problems I’m ruminating on, whatever humdrum tasks and duties fill my day, I can bring myself back to something much greater than myself.

The change each season brings

And I can see that the huge changes around me – the changes that affect everything from the towering columns of vapour in the atmosphere above my head to the teensiest filaments of tooth-thread that form the weft of the soil beneath my feet… these changes have nothing whatsoever to do with me. I am no more important than the chaffinch gleaning earnestly in my chicken run, or the buzzard rolling lazily in the warm thermals above the ridge of the hill.

The stories I’m sharing in this new collection of essays are an intimate glimpse into who I am, and where I’m at, including being pregnant and giving birth, in the context of the landscape I live in.

But they’re more than that, because life is more than what I feel.

They’re meditations on the elements and the threads that connect them the seasons.

Mirrors of this land, the earth and the wildlife that surround me.

Snapshots of this time.

Prompts for you to muse on; space for you to journal.

We live in (terribly) interesting times

There are terrible things happening in the world today. I don’t feel I can write anything publically without mentioning that. (How can any of us maintain a public discourse without saying what it is we see?) Immersed as I am in my tiny, rural life, I am connected to all that is going on around me.

Sometimes it seems that this project of mine is nothing but frippery; ephemeral nonsense bubbling up from the privilege I’ve been born into.

And that’s partly true.

But I also believe that the world will not change unless we are willing to make changes on a microcosmic level. That choosing to consider how we relate to ourselves, each other and the world around us on a day to day, minute to minute basis is part of the solution we are working towards.

And so I offer these essays not as a way of avoiding what is happening politically and socially in the world, but as a way of enhancing our experience of all that is. I hope they inspire you to pay closer attention to your actions, to lift your head up from the interior dialogue and move to an open hearted passage through each day; to see what is good and to know how you can be a part of it.

Here’s how you can read

If you’d like to read, just click here to sign up and download your copy. Already a part of the Seasoned Year Community? I’m sending your copy with this week’s Letter from the Land, celebrating the August new moon. Check your inbox for the link soon…

Thank you for being here, and for reading.