The song in the earth

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
If you really listen, sometimes you can stop walking and hear the words the Earth is speaking.

Submitted: July 28, 2012

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Submitted: July 28, 2012



I'm leaving now and the twilight is breaking over the hill making the dark trees black. I stand on a patch of leaves and I listen, listen to the message hidden under the skin of the earth. Goodbye bush wonder. I am ready to head back to camp, to the messy, grungy string of tarps and tents. To the mandarin peel in the fire and little bits of crap everywhere, the state that springs up in moments as soon as you settle in and light a fire that covers everything with a layer of smoke and ash. Burning our faces, stinging our eyes. Goodbye, bush wonder and hello, messy people.

A little earlier, I walked down the hill over the sodden green grass and under the lead grey sky. I paused by the barbed wire fence having not ripped my new pants. I've owned ten pairs of the same pants over the years. And I've always killed the pants, pair after pair, climbing over barbed wire fences. With the new pair I thought they would be safe living in the city but they're not because adventure always calls you over the barbed wire fence and away. I stand and eye off the camp, sprawling on its little windy ridge, and realise that I can't go back there, not unless I forgive them, and I don't want to. 'Forgiveness is everything – more than that'. I throw out a speck of resentment. 'More than that – all of it'. I don't believe I could do that but sort of throw everything into it. And it goes.

And before that...

I skip over the sandy gravel outwash from the creek as it erupts from out of the ground. It ran over the granite mountain and under the dirt, only to spring out at its base and carve through the soil between the trees a channel taller than my head. A mass of granitic sand and rock sits where it has been dumped onto an outwash plain. I listen for the messages and hear, 'Everything in layers'. Looking over, the creek has dissected its own deposit over and over and the layers in the sand are exposed everywhere. The layers are flat but they are carved in to make a landscape all of layers. Everything in layers. Everything.

And further up the hill, before before:

I am called beneath a tree and I crawl under and listen. 'The ground beneath your feet'. And the ground is everywhere under me, under my hands and feet and I can see and feel and hear it under here. And everywhere I am it is always there, supporting, nurturing, the hardstand I live my life on. Source of all food. Substrate of existence. And I realise that in all the years of trying to be a fire spirit, a water spirit and an air spirit, I am an earth spirit through and through and I always will be.

On the side of the hill I look out over the land with its sudden lumps of hill that have always been there in living history. The wind blows around and through me. The windmills you can see from the roof of the mountain never stop turning. Because of some bad camp construction on arrival, we were bitterly cold for the first night here and the wind howled and howled around us. Every now and again it would let up and we would think 'perhaps it's stopped', but it always started again. In the yellow of the cloudy evening I climbed the hill and looked out from the branches of a tree and all was clouds and darkness apart from the musty yellow horizon where a muddled sun broke through, illuminating three large turbines spiking their fingers in the sky, turning and turning, singing the song of the wind. Looking at those turbines I realised that bankable feasibility studies had been done and wind roses drawn and telemetry installed and historical data spreadsheeted and analysed and that they would have put those turbines where the wind always blows. And that those spiky fingers would keep on turning. And I realised there is a wind that always blows. We keep wanting it to stop, but it is always moving, always restless. Always there.

I stop and see the chair poking out of the hill, a perfect granite boulder. I sit down and feel overwhelmed by this need to walk and stop and listen and listen again and the strangeness of it all and the beauty of the land and the places it leads me or I go. I take a breath and sit, allowing myself to feel stressed, and tired, and overwhelmed, and miserable, and shaken and drawn. I feel like there is a wall inside me, going through the middle. And I sit there feeling the wall. And the wall feels me. And this tension that never lets go, lets go. And then moments later it returns. Gritted teeth and clenched jaw. Shock and horror and the need to run, always run. Frozen in space, frozen in time. Frozen and hard and locked and cold. Unhappy. And lost.

There is a log staring at me. What does it look like? It looks like a teasing, laghing little leprechaun like you see on a hotel roof made of concrete and advertising poker machines. And the other end of the log looks like a crocodile. No, a parrot. No, a pelican. I know that this is the farthest point of this walk and that before moving on I need to laugh. Swallow my pride and let the laughing leprechaun exist in the world, not shut it out. The little laughing leprechaun spirit settles in and the heaviness lightens. The pelican also looks like a battering ram, like something that would break a wall.

I look around for the message and see a path leading down. That can't be the message. The message must be more profound. 'There is a path leading down'. I wait until the moment comes, then stand up and start to move down the path. The path was made by the sheep and it is brown and muddy, a comfortable firm mud, brown and moist.

Scrambling up the granite slope I think this sort of granite might be a lopolith. And nobody else know enough about geology to tell me I'm wrong, so I'm saying it is one even if it's not. Because lopolith seems like the right word. Pretty. I climb up the steep lichen side of the mountain, the pure granite slope. I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know who I am. I need to find comfort with that because it's not changing. There is a crack in the rock where grass is growing. I stand there and listen to what is being said, the message left there for me. 'Under everything there is a nothing'. I can feel that nothing, sitting under all these worries and plainnesses and under all the discomfort and unease there is a great bulk of nothing, and even within the pain and the sadness there is a nothing between the molecules and inside the heart. There is a nothing that sits under everything. I hold the nothing for a little while.

Beside the greenness of a pine I stop. We walked past here like tractors yesterday, not stopping to feel or hope or play, wrapped in our own insecurity, proving to each other how fit for task we were, that we can walk and walk without stopping. Proving we are not fit for task, not at all. Proving that we do not know, and in not knowing, have no recourse to finding out.

There is a warmth in the rock you can reach out and trust. If I am leaving something for my descendents, where do I leave it? Do I leave them a thing, that will decay and age? Do I leave them lessons they can lose and misinterpret? No, I leave it in the spirit world. Spirit selves don't age. They stay and speak to those that are left. I leave a spirit self in the landscape for those that come after to find and hear.

The warmth in the rock is dry and kind. I can feel it in front of me inside the hill. I can reach it. Solid.

There is a wilderness of moss and lichen on the stone. There are delicate fronds of bracken growing in the cracks in the rock. Curled up like baby fingers, like kitten paws. Drops of rain caught between the green fronds. Drops of rain in the moss hair. Water soaking down the rock. I stand and listen to what needs to be heard. I am searching for a society that does not exist. It doesn't. I keep thinking I've found it but it's not it. What I am searching for is not there. This frustration is the need for change. We need to push out into the unknown. And I am also searching for a me that does not exist. We have not made it. I have not become it, either.

In a crack valley I stand and the walls fold in on me. Working through fear and anger and rage I find out that the feeling most forward is this – I am annoyed. Annoyed! By so many things! By being annoyed by a younger brother and sister, by being the calm one, by mates who don't listen, by having simple concepts I understand being explained over and over, and by being banned from creativity yet again after years and years and years of the same damn thing. Annoyed! That look – the look of fear and hurt when I say 'let's do this together' or 'let's improvise'.

The feeling of being ostracised by people who fear creativity. The fact that I can't talk about painting or drawing or songwritng or screenwriting to most people because that look comes up again. And again. Annoyed. Ostracised. Outcast. Rejected. Over and over.

I pass Egg Rock, so named by a mother who is herself an egg, a round and creative woman with a baby all her own work. And in the river bed I stop. Listen. Give over to the wind. It's not mine. That music I hear from the camp. It's thumping. Mostly just thumping. With no tune. It's never been my music. I've tried to make it mine but it isn't. And the choir I sing in isn't my music, it's a slavish copy of the same songs they've been singing the same way for three hundred years. Sometimes they sing a four beat as if it's in two time. That's the creativity. Change the tempo. It's not music. The spark doesn't live in it. There's no surface. The surface of hearing what needs to be made, right now. The surface is too scary and it's banished. And they don't play my music. Not at all. I haven't heard my music. Not at all. Not anywhere. It's not there. I can try to make it my music but it's not.

I am leaving camp, walking out the gate, the hill pulling me in. I think blandy that I can go back, that it's socially awkward to run away and stay away. But that will never turn out to be true because the hills are calling and calling. They are calling my spirit, those who don't speak my irrelevant name, my irrelevant thoughts, the irrelevant culture that expresses nothing. On the path I stop and realise that I don't know who I am because I haven't been there yet.


© Copyright 2018 Ruth Campbell. All rights reserved.

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