For some time now, it may even be a few years, walking out hasn’t always simply brought with it a feeling of connection to the beauty of the world and what I find there. It now can often sit on a bittersweet edge, and at times brings great grief. The reality of dwindling resources overpowered by money and greed, of more and more industry and disconnection by so many from the world around us all. A rise of mental ill-health and addiction. (I am currently reading Johann Hari’s “Lost Connections”. Reflections on this to come soon). The gap between rich and poor becoming greater. More fear. More right-wing politics. Especially those with the greatest power and financial resource.
Even now, as I write, the news babbles on in the background that Boris Johnson, new to power as Primeminster in the UK, has felt it vital to spend his first days stating his support of a new, faster railway between Leeds and Manchester. No mention of climate breakdown. Of the prospect of humanity’s extinction. It is this madness, and often feelings of impotence, that meet me in my daily life.
This is something I feel strongly about, yet there is a fear of expressing such things. I am not perfect. Nobody is. It is an ongoing process. But going that bit deeper than “reduce, reuse, recycle” is a reality we are facing. For me, this involves sitting with the grief and caring for the mental stretches of darkness and anxiety when they arise. Here is some writing that came out as I spent some time exploring recently. I venture out, away from the crowds of holiday makers in the villages near to home, to Clarbeston in Pembrokeshire.
We whizz through this green landscape and we don’t see it. It sits as a backdrop. Something that might make us smile, or feel something, as we peruse in its entirety, but the details are lost. To some it might be cow food, the place where cows go, where wheat grows, to others, it is lawns and places to gather or look at from the kitchen window. When was the last time you sat amongst it and watched? Watched the insect that made friends with your leg?
I’m no saint. I drove here in my cheap old diesel car.
The scene of the macerated hedgerows. Nature that got too feral for the passing cars. Gone is the heady scent of meadowsweet, sweet aroma of honeysuckle and tall swaying statues of grass and foxgloves. Maybe this needs to happen for the sake of the hedgerows. Does it? Does it assist them in any way? Or is it so we can see more clearly as we swing around country lanes at high speed getting from A to B. Today I cannot quite sum up a warm relaxed presence and peace. Today I am disturbed and desolate. Daydreaming of quiet roads and walking from village to village. Of one field once a cow home, hosting enough veg to feed a community for months. What will it come to? When will things be heard?
The Preseli Hills from Gelli.
I spent last weekend at Buddhafield Festival in Somerset, and the conversation of Evolution of Extinction that was the theme of the gathering dug in deep. As Greta Thunberg states “This is an existential crisis.” Finding insight, community and strength in spiritual practice is something I return to again and again. More and more. The talks given by those engaged in Buddhism and activism from Buddhafield (the UK festival, not the Hollywood group reportedly a cult) will be available on the Clear Vision website in the coming days, and I look forward to leaning into this wisdom and support in these times.
Next Thursday is the next Extinction Rebellion Pembrokeshire meeting in Haverfordwest. The three groups from the county have come together to make a super group. Alongside this, the beginnings of a Regenerative Culture affinity group are taking shape in Narberth. We are due to meet on August 5th.
This is the way forward. The only way. Coming together. Making and strengthening connections.
In my time back in Pembrokeshire, I am glad of the space and peace to take stock and prepare for surgery, and I am also aware of the way rural life can work itself into a feeling of disconnection and loneliness. Going out and forging those connections, whether, with a pathway, a beach, a human, a group, a voice, a project, a set of values, this all takes focus and effort. This is where I focus.
I can greatly relate to this post from writer Elizabeth Gilbert from a few days ago: