Island Blog – A Forest and Thinks

Outside it is still dark and will be for a while yet. There is no mangata, no moon reflection on the ice to sparkle rainbows at me, for the ice is all but gone. Just like that. All that effort over many crisp, cold days, melted in minutes. Today the sea-loch will popple once again with an irritation of raindrops and the wind, rising now, will lift its skin with pox. I light the lights and bellow the fire into life. I watch the lick of flames around the chunks of wood and I remember the forest. Hallo forest. Thank you for gifting me this instant (well, almost) warmth, for cheering my eyes with your dance of gold, of blood and amber, for your constancy. You will merry away the day as you reduce each log to charcoal, an artist’s tool and, in the right hand, transformative.

There are only doors, walls and windows in between the out and the in. I can inhabit both and I do. I am fortunate to have that freedom of movement, I know this. The ground beneath my feet is warm in here, and my bare toes connect and notice. I will need footwear out there, as I move into the rising light, and it will rise eventually for the dark is dazzled by any sun, however weak or clouded. I will work today on a new tapestry landscape, feel my way from the bottom up, choosing colours at what might appear to be random but is far from that. My quiet subconscious is always at work, for my good or bad, she is constantly seeking resolution. I am glad she is quiet for there is enough yammering jibber-jabber going on at the surface of my mind, as if there were about 60 mouthy chatterboxes inside my head. You should learn from the forest I tell them when it becomes deafening. A forest stands still and rooted, all together and each one alone. Sibilance with the wind and rain is about as much noise as a forest makes for it is bird-less and cannot wave its arms about like you are all doing.

It thinks me of us, of we humans, and our talking together. Competitive chatter, voices rising to dominate the space, sucking all the air out of other mouths, or perhaps quiet, contemplative reflection, even silence whilst together. All are possible and timely. There is a time for lightweight banter and a time for a soft exchange of thoughts. There is a time for a voice to elevate when the wind or rain of a situation irritates someone into pox, and a time to stand silent, to observe, to speak not. The trouble is it can be hard to get this right, driven as we are, by external forces and by our own internal dialogue. I have learned, sometimes painfully, that it helps to take a step back from myself when I dither on the periphery. To speak my mind or not to speak my mind. Ok, I say to myself, let us step back and merely observe. It isn’t easy when the blood, gold and amber of the situation is burning me. I can feel it scalding my eyeballs and my heart is on fire, but I hold my ground, rooted, like a tree in the forest. It takes practice and, to be honest, I haven’t had to do this forest thing for months and nor have you, I imagine, if you are as isolated as I am. In the olden days, when I enjoyed encounters with people on a daily basis, thought nothing of meeting a friend for lunch or of dropping in on my family, I took it all for granted. I appreciated it, for sure, was thankful for all of it, but I didn’t really understand that this freedom of movement could be taken away from me, and…. Just. Like. That.

So, once I/we get back among each other, will we be full of our own babble or will we have gleaned, from this time of lack, a precious lesson, one that will make us better listeners, more comfortable with a shared silence, less desperate to have our say, have our voice heard, fight our corner, demand our rights? It is up to each one of us, of course. It will take work to effect a change and not everyone believes in such work. But for those who do, think on this. A world, a street, a home wherein each voice is given space, is listened to and taken seriously. I suspect many of us have felt un-heard and disregarded but are we to perpetuate that which made us miserable?

The forest falls but it can grow again. We, on the other hand, cannot.

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