I am working voluntarily in a private woodland for a few days each month at present, reconnecting with nature, clearing old rides and re-instating old coppice. A chainsaw, you might think, would not be a friend of nature, however we are in fact managing to increase the wildlife in the wood: both plants and animals.
The woodland has been left untouched for a long time, without any of the old traditional methods of management that were used in the past that made this woodland a thriving working place for wood crops and wildlife. The overgrown rides when opened up will let more light in and increase the wildlife diversity, creating an edge effect. I am enjoying re-learning many skills from my days as a county wildlife conservation officer, a BTCV field officer and an RSPB warden. The moments when resting, and taking a coffee and listening to the sounds of nature in this ride (the photo above) are pure bliss for me and I realise how much I miss working in the outdoors! I enjoy ‘reading’ nature and its signals, like people read books: nature talks and tells me so much and the experiences are very special for me.
I am hoping to return to Patagonia early next year and again let my spirit free in the ‘wilds’ kayaking with my Chilean friend (‘wilderness’, is really not ‘wild’ at all, it is a place of beauty, and spiritual freedom). I am enjoying reading about this very Western notion of ‘wilderness’ in a book called: Wild, an elemental journey by Jay Griffiths. This great book is written by a women who has travelled and realy experienced some remarkable places around the world, including the Amazon and the Arctic far north, listening to remarkable indigenous people. This book has been described in many reviews as profound and extraordinary. The book certainly challenges us to think about our langauge.
The language that we take for granted in its every day usage. Langauge has played a major role in divorcing us from our natural being – a focus expanded upon in the writing of David Abram, particularly in his fabulous book: The Spell of the Sensuous.