They say that those who do not know their history are bound to repeat it. I say bring it on. Time is not an arrow or an unfolding road, ever relentless, ever marching onwards. Time soars in loops and spirals and endless waves, like the true, delighted flight of crows on the wind. Time, like history, needs the subtle patterning of refrain and repetition. How else are we to learn to sing along?
Round and round life dances: another season, another sunrise, another heart to heart connection; another taste, another chance to sing our song again, again, again. Another grand mistake to make. May I always have the heart, the courage for this adventure. And when the cells of my body and the whispers of my heart finally disperse, may I embrace that transformation into all-that-is with the story of my life still echoing. And then. And then. Don’t pluck my tangled roots from the wheel of existence. No matter how small and grief-filled the offering, life accepts the sacrifice. Let us learn the precious joy of a single leaf, or a Mayfly’s day, or one, flawed breath drawn, held and released. It is enough. We go on. As a tribe, as a species, as a planet, we go on.
The world turns. Summer dances with its own, bitter-sweet end. There will be heat, stillness and sunshine yet to bring the harvest home, but the wild rumpus song of Autumn has already begun. This summer has been a glory – a summer to thank the gods for, if I can find them again. Deity seems such an odd abstraction when I have been so fully, deeply, intimately held in the embrace of Land, Sea and Sky. Why do we pray more to the thunder overhead than the mud between our toes? What is, is. And yet the separation and the longing have already begun. The dust of daily life begins to dull the senses. The backing track of civilisation returns.
And so I hold on. I hold back. I hold strong. The patterns we choose to repeat determine who we become. I have been tanned by wind and sun; tempered in sweat, in graft and in pelting rain. I have given my blood and tears to the land. I have sworn and swaggered and laughed and met my tribe clean and stripped bare. Again. Under my fingernails and tangled in hair, this earth, these waters, these endless wild winds still play. When I glimpse the moon and stars overhead, I know I am changed.
Heart to heart. Skin to skin. Hand to hand. Blood on the land. Welcomed home, naked and undone. And like quicksilver, this song of summer, of canvas and woodsmoke and friendship and love and deep emotions, grand adventures and wide, wide skies, still plays on. It runs from my hand and eye and throat, adding a lilt and a sway and a touch of hoarseness to everything I attempt. I teach. I lead. I serve. I organise. I analyse. I follow my chosen path. I compromise. But above all I smile. And I hear the wild geese calling still. At summer’s end.
(Images with grateful thanks to Phil and Angie)