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  • Emma Palmer

Welcome home!

Updated: Aug 8, 2019

I confess, I’m not much of a blogger, despite having this blog linked to my website. I can’t get my head around the form. It’s a shame really, because I go through phases of enjoying very much blog posts from others writers about society, ecopsychology, climate change – right through to occasional forays into baking and crafting blogs.

But today I’m compelled to write here. I’m compelled to write by the surging life force all around me as spring unfurls, in me and beyond me: stretching, yawning, shaking off the last flaking remnants of winter. I’m particularly compelled by something that happened yesterday. I was travelling a familiar path, on my way to work, marvelling at the re-appearance of the leaves. Even two days earlier the cotton wool-like fuzzy greenness wasn’t on many of the trees and in the high hedgerows. And yesterday the leaves on a row of six horse chestnuts I greet twice a week on this familiar journey were almost fully formed! It was miraculous seeing all that life returning and making itself known again – such an eruption.

How would it be, I thought, if we all paid as much attention to each and every unfurling leaf as we do to each email that pings into our inbox, or each grabby/grubby headline about Trump’s latest move, or the latest tweet or each fleeting human conversation we have? It struck me that the spring is this peaceful revolution that happens, year after year after year. This revolution – I love the fact that the seasons still take my breath away: the beauty of skeletal trees in January, the deep azure sky of a midsummer day, the blousiness of spring blossom. What if we stopped to notice this revolution of life, colour, texture, smell and noise - have you noticed the birdsong lately?

What I’m talking about is better expressed by an excerpt from Pablo Neruda in ‘Keeping Quiet’ or ‘A Callarse’ in his mother tongue:

“..Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems dead and later proves to be alive…”

All around us, every day, we’re surrounded by life in all its forms – none of it ever the same two days in a row. And yet we (I) turn to the news in order to see what’s going on; plugging ourselves (myself) back into the zone of mass media, consensus reality, and the constant, hour by hour, privileging of human life over and above other-than and more-than-human life. The majority of us constantly choosing to spend more time interacting virtually with one another online rather than sitting in the park or our gardens and taking time to notice the myriad of life forms around us if we just stop and sit for 20 minutes.

I found myself wondering how it would be if we stopped doing this, just for one hour, every single day? If we were ready and able to give our full attention to learning from the other-than-human and more-than-human; watching, listening, noticing our mutual response to the life in the other. I can’t help thinking that it might bring a revolution in how we live; how we treat one another, how we treat ourselves, how we treat the planet – our home. We’d need to learn new – or rather, remember – languages; the language of the river, the howl of the wind. We might learn how to talk with our fingers again, as well as with our voice boxes and tongues. We could smell the blossom. We might start to arrive back in our bodies, arriving with a thump on the earth, returning from our suspension in the 24/7 plugged in digital and virtual world. Welcome home!

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