I went on a wild walk, foraging plants. She said, ‘there was a knack to it’ as she chewed the nettle. I wondered, whether the unknown is the forgotten. Rubbed out like the sting of the nettle she ate.
I had bought a guide to wild food. It sat on the shelf unopened for a time. For now. For then. For this place. A small wooded valley, a watery cut out to the sea.
No certain light. No sedimentary rock. No romantic idyll of a tranquil nature. I was uprooted. I picked in the shade of hemlock.
I went from place to place. Stones of moss, standing time. To running grass. To a silent flight of on off light. To a roll down meadow.
A Pennywort bellybutton. A carry me back night. An explorer of the natural state. Curiosity holding fear.
I went on a wild walk, to remember.
Wildwalks – Rachel Lambert
Featured photo by Meghan Schiereck on Unsplash
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
When I think of being on the edge, I see a penny at the front of a coin pusher. Methodical movement back and forth, seemingly waiting for something else to tip the balance.
A mechanical tide moving metal like the cars I try to ignore, as I walk along the seafront to an art exhibition of invisible narratives. The sea on the left and town on the right.
There are waves projected onto a book of empty pages, on a desk with two radios. Each, broadcasting one voice. A monologue on the lack of dialogue in place, space and time, of what’s natural and what’s man-made. An installation.
Each, ignorant of the other, voicing over and over each other. A backing track of urban instruments. A constant throwaway into breaking waves. It feels like chaos.
The penny drops.
I walk back on edge.
There are no sides
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When I saw this picture, I just wanted to blow. I am sure our relationship with dandelions is of an ancient nature. And, sometimes, a little lightness goes a long way.
I decided, when I next came across a blowball, I would blow a summers breeze and caress the silver tufted fruits towards transformation.
On a day at the end of a busy week, I walked on a new path and there they were, ball after ball of seeding dandelion. It was serendipity.
I wondered, whether it was I who wanted to transform and, in a moment, we would become a force in nature.
I think we were. I blew a gusty south westerly. In that moment, I felt present in the world.
I felt elated in my power to move heaven and earth. And then, sad, the moment of freedom lost to me as the seeds swiftly disappeared.
So, I picked another and another and another. I blew myself into awareness and was gifted with exquisite uniqueness as each was carried away on a parachute of silvery-white.
As time passed, my breath moved gently into a summer breeze and saw each slender olive-brown fruit on their way in air. I felt a lightness as I wished for no more.
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash
The tidal waters drew them in sand back to the ocean. Soon, all water was gone. What was separate was one. Sea bed to land flats.
They lived near the sea, a place of escape. He built a boat of iron and laid anchor on a concrete floor. The bow sculpted motionless to the stern. Its touch, long gone cold. The chisel and hammer of time turning from west to east.
She rolled scroll after scroll. It was an empty vessel. There was paper, wire mesh, ceramic and lead. He placed each in the bottom. “A boat full of grave goods,” he said.
“No, no words are written here,” she said. “I am my own story,” he said. “In the telling, you will know,” she said. They listened in silence.
“A boat full of life goods,” she said. “Before time,” he said. “In sand and ruins and fish and fin and feet and lung,” they said.
Photo by Osman Rana in Unsplash
‘You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop’. Rumi
I heard a rain drop fall in the night. I saw it’s shape in the moment of its dissolution in a darkness that sat inside and outside the tent. I wondered at the clarity and felt a slight shift from a sense of solitude to isolation with its tinge of fear.
More rain drops fell but with a spaciousness that set their uniqueness. Yet, I had a yearning for some clarity, a pattern I could call rain. A knowing that would find its way into a grounded sleep close in to elemental energy.
I wanted a story to be inside and yet, at the same time, I wanted to be outside where a new story was beginning. A rain drop joining another in the creation of a new shape.
As each drop fell, the vibrations picked up the background sound of the pounding Atlantic Ocean to the west and the gentle lapping of the inner waters of the archipelago to the east.
Orchestral water in a never ending movement to shape.
I have just found this beautiful and very apt poem written by David Whyte, Where Many Rivers Meet
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‘All the left shoes arrive here in the Netherlands and the right shoes travel to England…’ (Flotsam & Jetsam)
When something seems far fetched, it might be time to have faith. To step into the world of the magical where anything is possible. Suspend disbelief and, with hope, believe.
Today, in the north end of Bryher, it happened. There they were, two right flip flops. Not one but two, as if to make sure what was found would be certain to bring in the story from the sea to the shore.
When I saw them, I laughed out loud and shouted with joy to the gulls ‘I believed’. I believed the story. To live is to work and to hope and trust in the tides as the sea rises and falls.
The possible happens.
Flotsam & Jetsam (Vimeo) is a film which follows the lives of beachcombers in Texel, exploring their relationships and history as extraordinary people in extraordinary situations.
Photo by Su Ormerod
This is a story. It turns on the tide. It began on the ebb. The sea gave up a rock to the sun, wind and rain.
A standing rock of the land.
He, had waited. Its absence, a chiselled presence on his horizon. Waited to step out onto the rock given up by the sea.
Oftentimes, if he had a mind, he could feel its pressure pushing up against his feet. As he stepped into its time, he said to himself, “I am become life”. A tree wooded to stone. A living conversation in an ancient forest.
The silence and stillness of the rock rubbed that space between his skin and his clothes. He felt the air move around his body. The shape of him as he took in the horizon.
His breath, turned inwards, reached a deep place. He felt the power in waves of expansion and retraction. A changing space.
He moved deeper into his darkness. There, a stream became a river. It carried fresh water to the sea. A brackish mix as it turned on a wave.
His feet, touched the sound of water as it flowed over and over the rock. Land became sea.
Silently, he stood on the beach still.
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Photo by Christopher Sardegna on Unsplash
To walk the same path on occasion across life, is to stand in time as it passes. A ploughed field still to the sound of an ocean, a wave breaking green on a coastal path.
I wonder at earths stillness in life. At layers of soil footprints ground to a path, solid to rain homing to the sea. Time held in clods. An archaeological dig, comes to mind. A grounded memory. Earth to earth.
There is patience in winter silence. A field held still, in thrall to a plough shaping mud like water. A boat aground, a colony of gulls feather-light sailing in a prevailing wind. A blackbird singing of a tomorrow, hedged in anticipation. Like the taste of a lime sharp spring. A rustling ear at dawn.
Time laid in stone. A negative, the space. Earth to earth. Shoots of sun and rain, to leaf and flower. Green dug deep, inch by inch by inch.
Time, walk on.
Photo by Su Ormerod
There is work in bringing ourselves more fully into life and sometimes, we just need to stand. Like the tide stands between the tide coming in and the tide going out. A moment of equilibrium. An oceanic breath.
There was a morning, not so long ago. I walked in a harbour, the sea water close in. Later, a good while later, I walked back, it lingered still. Like it had stood in place and time unmoving whilst I was caught in life. Yet, a soft light spoke of a world turning toward night. Footprints walking with ancient waves. There, a salty moment, an hourglass taste.
There, I stood. There, we stood. There, the ocean stood. There, a rhythm played in the silence.
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