Here on this planet we call earth, we are at a crossroads. Truly!
We can either learn to live well on this planet in harmony with her. Or we can continue on our trajectory of ignorance.
We can either listen deeply to her lessons and take stock of our role on this beautiful earth, or pay the dire consequences of climate change and more. This we now know from all the science as well as from our experience of many disasters around the world.
At the time of the pandemic, I have been reconnecting deeply with this truth and with all of nature, on my many walks and explorations. And for me, the truth is, earth holds the answers we are seeking.
I have just been on a deep and immersive walk in nature with my beloved beech trees. It is a wintry cold day, the sun low on the horizon, offering little hope for the summer to come. Today, however, I felt her warmth shining clear on me, as I sat beneath one of the grandmother trees, her roots enfolding me. She showed me a large branch to use as a seat, and guided me where to sit. The ground is wet with brown, damp leaves, hidden moss, muddy soil, soft and sodden. I thanked her as I placed the branch exactly where I needed to keep dry.
When I listen deeply I am gifted these answers. We all can do this.
I sat still, first with eyes closed then later eyes opened – the place was perfect for a silent, enfolding space to sit and be still – within a cold shivery day I was bathed in the glory of winter in my mini shelter. I sat with gratitude, warmed, safe.
She enfolded me in her branches, leading me deep into the myriad network of roots far beneath my body. I felt the connection to all trees around the world, and my roots touched and weaved with theirs. She felt my connection and I felt her love: A reciprocal meeting, of two souls, one in a human body, one in a tree body. Equally living on this planet, our right to be on this earth never in question.
We sat a long time together. As the sun toasted my body within and without, the golden glow of life reaching deep in my core, I was reminded of the light hidden from us when we hide away in our houses. Most religions hold light as sacred, especially at this time of the year when nights are long and days are short. Coming out of the house is vital to feel this light. We are never truly apart from nature.
Then I felt grandmother’s outer layer, her rough bark as ancient protection from the elements. No house for her. She is forever within and without on this earth, standing tall with her roots deep. She feels each element landing on her skin, letting it touch, kiss, mould and form her. She receives and she gives. I so longed for a home with a similar feeling, of within and without, shaping and growing while still protecting me.
She revealed her meandering life for me. How she has grown from a tiny seed into this glorious creature, weaving and melding as the elements challenged her. Given life to many on her branches and bark, seeds and crevices, her connection to others a sanctuary and host for food and shelter. The squirrels who scuttle around, living within her hollow parts; birds who nest in her many broad swaying branches; the insects who weave around her in their webs and flights to their own lives, other creatures who nibble the leaves.
I sat awhile listening, feeling the life buzzing, reminded of all she had lived through. I felt her good life and her love of being alive. And so it reminded me. How good it is to be alive. Of my seeds and meanderings. How good to connect to those we are linked to and who connect with us. Who respect us, allow us to be who we are, and love us while sharing our lives. How we are connected to all others, and we often forget this.
She spoke to me of co-creation. I opened my eyes, gazing at the grass, the earth and the leaves around me. There in the sun was a spider’s thread glinting, shimmering, and the spider weaving her way across. There is a life beneath grandmother beech, supported by her, alongside her, living each their own lives.
I felt deep awe in this moment, of how life can be lived. I could envisage in my heart and my soul, my body co-creating with others, my life abundant with reciprocity. Together sharing, caring, seeding, creating. My gratitude for all living things expanded my heart and soul. Often the trees tell me we are never alone, and today, deeply, I know this. We live in a community of life, and forget this at our peril.
My life is currently more solitary than usual due to the pandemic, and I am ready to share in reciprocity, with other beings, human and others such as animals and trees. The solitariness is echoed throughout the world at the moment, during this pandemic time. So feeling the connection of earth and all living beings as I did today was both a gift and a teaching from grandmother beech, a vital reminder of the true reciprocity of nature. We are always able to live in community if we open up to this possibility again.
Eventually I walked back through the woods, eyes wide open, ears listening, heart awake, body alive. I know I am committed to living life in harmony with others on this earth. Sometimes I forget..And more than this, the earth she teaches us, she always has, but somehow we as a culture have forgotten how we can be connected in every moment, and choose wisely how to use her resources.
Just as the squirrel uses the crevices of the beech to find home and the nuts to eat from, we can use nature’s finest to create homes that do not destroy, but acknowledge the wealth of materials at our disposal. The food we eat can be grown nearby, and eating in season has always been my preference.
Just as the spider weaves her magical web across the base of the tree, so we can learn to weave our webs of life on the roots of this earth, without harming others, with respect and care for all creatures.
We are not meant to destroy everything in our path, in order to get what we want as humanity. It was never meant to be like this. We are so very separated from this element of co-creation at this time of history. We have finally had a terrible and awful series of wake up calls – the pandemic, the wild fires, many floods and famine : All of these show me how the earth is trying desparately to be heard before it is too late.
This autumn I stayed in a ‘moon lodge’ built with cob and straw bales. Many years ago I learnt how to build such houses but never found the right land to do this – these houses ‘breathe’ with nature, and hold life within them, allowing insects near and within, plants on their roofs, and placed on the earth in reciprocity. They hold warmth, and are deeply connected to the land. I felt again a longing to build this house now, one in which my outer walls echo the bark of my beloved beeches, and allows for all of the co-creation we need on this earth. I am seeking this land, where I can build this house, and can live with others also wishing to co-create with mother gaia. This is my bark, my outer layer allowing the inner layer to breathe also.
We live on this earth, we share it with many different species, and we have not yet learnt the true art of listening to her so she can teach us all her many gifts and we may live together in co-creation.
If ever there was a time to learn how to do this, it is now. Now.
With much love
Anna Tara Yacov
If you like this blog and feel a kinship for the thoughts, drop me a line, or sign up for more blogs and courses on this and other topics. I am beginning to emerge from my own long winter, and hope to create and link into earth based living and spirituality for all of us.