â€œFor money, you sell the hours and the days of your life, which are the only true wealth you have,â€ she wrote. â€œYou sell the sunshine, the dawn and the dusk, the moon and the stars, the wind and the rain, the green fields and the flowers, the rivers and the sweet fresh air.Â You sell health and joy and freedom.â€ So saidÂ Hope Bourne, and so say I.
As a somewhat decrepit cripple with bad eyesight, the gods only know how I’d survive off the grid … but I would infinitely rather be there, out in the wilds, than live even in a hamlet, let alone a village or a town. My nearest neighbour now is a quarter of a mile away and that’s far too close! I’d prefer something like five or ten miles to the next nearest person. No, I don’t like living amongst people. And I don’t feel safe amongst them either. I do feel completely safe out in the wilds, amongst the animals and trees, the rivers, mountains and sea, I know absolutely, in my bones, that none of them would ever harm me … but people? Hmmm! Not a safe species at all. Perhaps some of you feel that way too.
One of my biggest fears about growing old is that I won’t be able to take care of myself and have to go live in a home. I think I’d rather take a long walk in January, in the snow, in the Cairngorms, with a bottle of good brandy and aÂ boxÂ of painkillers! I would die quickly of suffocation in a home, surrounded by people with whom i have nothing in common, so why not go easy in my beloved wild lands?
I was reading aÂ pieceÂ about “ecopsychology” and “pachamama” this morning. Hmmm, again. All sounds so “head-stuff” to me, carefully thought out and written, by academics and with lots of holes (lacunae – to be properly academic about it) in the philosophy, and all seeming to fit neatly with the axe these people have to grind. I know, in my bones, that in order to live (not survive) people must stop prostituting themselves and all the joys of this Earth for money, so as far as the eco-lotÂ goÂ I agree with them somewhat there.Â But why do we have to go to the other side of the world to find it, find the means of reconnecting with the Earth? Perhaps because the powers-that-be, politicians, academics and others to whom we give our power and turn into authority-figures, tell us there are no indigenous people here in Britain. Ha!
Do you realise that when you agree with this premise itâ€™s because you are accepting someone elseâ€™s definition of indigenous? You give them the power to tell you what the word means. You give them the power to tell you what you are. Is that good?
Indigenous, from the dictionary and the Thesaurus, means native, original, homegrown, local â€¦ well, I donâ€™t know about you but Iâ€™m all those things with regard to my homeland, Britain. Oh yes, Iâ€™ve mixed blood, but what is that? Blood is made of molecules, atoms and particles of the Earthâ€™s body, bits I borrow from her for each lifetime to make a spacesuit for my spirit to live on Planet Earth. They change throughout my life â€“ for instance, the dust you hoover up is largely skin cells you and the rest of your family have shed over the week. Cells die, you shed them, and you grow new ones. That happens with blood cells too. Everything you eat goes to make the new cells, so bits of you come from carrot and cabbage, venison, cheese, pinto beans, grains, beer, coca cola (if you drink the horrid stuff!), etc, etc. so what is all this blood-fetish? DNA, I hear you cry. Well, what is DNA? Is it physical â€“ yes. Is it made of particles and atoms and molecules of the Earthâ€™s body â€“ yes it is. Yes, it holds certain programmes, like how to grow an eye, what colour your skin will be and such, but these also change, thatâ€™s thought to be likely how Neanderthal man got wiped out, by interbreeding with other varieties of human. Like how the Scottish Wildcat has been nearly wiped out by interbreeding with domestic cats. So just how far back are you taking this blood-fetish thing? The DNA goes back into the apes and monkeys our human boies developed from; and back into the bodies they came from; and back into the single-cell organisms before them â€¦ etc. So I am indigenous, whatever Mr Cameron and other politicians and academics like to say. And so are you.
And I am connected deeply with the Earth, though all those molecules and atoms and particles. Iâ€™m also deeply connected to her spirit. When Iâ€™m surrounded by the fog-haze of human thinking in a town or village or city it really is like wading through mud to reach into the spirit-of-place where I am. Itâ€™s much harder to feel nature. Itâ€™s also very easy to be mentally swamped by the shibboleths, the beliefs of most people beliefs which are largely empty of real meaning, of the people all round me. Large groups of people who donâ€™t go in for deep thinking spread a miasma around them of their own beliefs, itâ€™s cloying and very hard to resist. I can, and I do when I have to go into conurbations, bit even for someone with my years of experience in doing it, itâ€™s very hard work. For most folk, who donâ€™t even realise itâ€™s there, it has them completely in thrall.
So I try to go there as little as possible. I avoid being amongst groups or crowds people unless I choose. I stick with my friends the trees and the animals, birds, fishes and plants, and rocks. And thatâ€™s where I live, not as wild as Hope Bourne, but fairly off-planet to most folk *grin*. This way, I can hear easily what the Earth and all her spirit-parts want, and want of me. I also have the space-time to do my best to do what she and they wish of me. The groups (small) of folk I associate with every now and again, all feel the same way although not all of them have, as yet, achieved as comfy a lifestyle as me, but theyâ€™re all working on it.
Connecting with nature, with the Earth, with wildness, means you just have to make the space-time for it. You really wonâ€™t do it in large groups, nor festival weekends, nor workshops of loads of people! You have to take your courage in your hands and be alone, be alone for long, long past when it gets scary; be alone in the dark, in the woods, by a river, on the seashore, up a mountain â€“ all of those. And be alone without even your mobile phone turned on!
Weâ€™re not taught or encouraged to be alone, so weâ€™re always deafened and befogged by other people and their thoughtforms. Nature, the Earth, the spirit-world, canâ€™t reach us through the fog and, most of the time, we donâ€™t even know to ask it to come to us! We sit about, in a coma-like state, waiting for someone/something to do it all for us. Living wild, even only as wild as I do, means you just canâ€™t be so lazy as that, you have to get off your butt and ask, communicate with the natural world, and with the spirit-world.
The ecopsychology lot donâ€™t seem to realise this. They donâ€™t seem to know anything about folk like Hope Bourne (who, of course, they donâ€™t consider to be indigenous!), nor do they comprehend just how much she had to be in touch, communicating all the time with everything non-human all around her in order to live. Until we all grasp this, that itâ€™s up to each of us to get out there and communicate with all of our ancient brethren who are not human, we can go to as many workshops as we please. Theyâ€™re just a means of passing the time, like X-Box! Theyâ€™re not real and they will do nothing but wind us up in yet another fog so we know nothing but what some other person has told us. I wonder how much of the human race will ever dare to be real?
As Hope shows us, there is hope for all of us â€¦ but only if and when we get ourselves out of our comfort-box and dare, risk, begin completely alone.