Primordial land is the monument to eternity. Jagged, raw, windswept into position of timelessness. Wild grasses and flowers scatter across the cliff tops and the land and sea are like the oldest companions of all elemental beauty. It doesn’t just tag at your heart and takes your breath away it consumes your soul.
With a single breath one transports into a place of deep belonging to the times long gone yet still running through your blood. It is a sort of remembrance for me. I know who I am there instantly. There are no barriers or limits, only recognition between the primal in me and the land. There’s no feeling like it.
I describe that feeling as merging with the core of something so familiar. Rocks are like tough thick lizard-like skin and breathe of the sea and mountains is like cells weaving together to form a being that can not be described, only felt from within.
It is a shape shifting experience one might say that is effortless there. It feels like wings and claws can grow out of the body and an animal-self comes home. Otherworldly place yet deeply grounding, which makes it a true manifestation of spirit on Earth type of experience. Heavenly, surreal yet so physically felt with all senses in perfect alignment that can be overwhelming. But the land holds you tight in its casing of rocks, plants and roaring water that you can’t help but become it.
Educator Soul Land by Natalia Clarke engages the reader through lovely language and imagery. I’m looking forward to showing several of these lines to my students as mentor texts to inspire their own writing!
Claire M. So beautiful. It really takes a special poetry book to maintain my interest and this one did. Gentle yet powerful. Highly recommended for poetry fans, and those who are open to new things.
Katie M. This was such a lovely poetry collection. It was different from others I’ve read before. It showed a deep and personal connection to Scotland, the heritage, and the culture. I normally read poetry to relate to what is being said. This was rather hard for me to connect to since I have no connection at all to Scotland. Regardless, it was very beautiful. I loved what I read and wish it was longer.
Wulfie N. This collection was incredibly unique. It painted a beautiful picture with its words, and I fell in love with every single one of them.
DeAnn H. This poetry collection really was a love letter to Scotland and how the author feels about Scotland. There was some beautiful imagery and wonderful phrases that painted a picture of the wildness and beauty of Scotland. I did really enjoy the poems and language, but wished it was a little longer. I would have loved to read more since I did feel it was a bit short. Still, a lot of the images inspired by her words were wonderful and definitely make you feel like you can see the landscape she’s describing.
An open view as far as an eye can see. I can feel beyond that. For the first time in many years the picture is complete with every mountain sketch, rock, shoreline and a bird in the sky in full view. The sun is high yet gentle; blues and greens are in perfect harmony with a splash of purple and pink in corners and edges of the land. We are approaching. A castle stands proud above the cliffs overlooking a sheer drop. It is still here. I delight in much needed reassurance.
When a view opens up from the living room window it is vast. You can see and feel the mountains breathe into the sea and exhales come as waves and splashes that freshen everything up. Everything is injected with life. It is overwhelming trying to take it all in. It feels like I can’t decide if there’s too much air or not enough of it. It is as if I am possessed by raw instinct that makes me want to take my shoes off and run to the edge of the vista that sprawls open in front. The end of the earth is there. Senses are both sharpened and relaxed. It is intoxicating to a point of wanting never to sober up. Silence is otherworldly.
I sit at a long kitchen table surrounded by lush green landscape with rowan and gorse, ash and oak in faithful surround. Those trees know the land intimately, they know they belong here. I can’t take my eyes away from large windows in front of me, which makes it impossible to work. It takes a few days to be able to fit into this pristine environment and realise where I came from and where I am. The contrast is shockingly stark. It is a process of bedding in, acclimatising slowly and steady or you might just suffocate.
I decide to go for a walk, something I have been looking forward to for the whole year. It is all just as I left it last time. I find it reassuring and comforting. It is all here, still. When I am away I often wonder if things change when I am not there to see it, will it all still be there when I go back? Will I have another chance to live it? I never know. Every time I find it is just as I left it and it is a relief and something beyond beautiful and soothing to know it will outlive everyone and everything.
I walk along a path and silence wraps me up in a cloud of peace. It is palpable, ethereal like nothing else on earth for me, the most precious commodity and a gift. I cherish it with every land’s breath, every leaf movement and rain drop that make up the silent chorus that is nature being. My heart is in my mouth and I am deeply happy. There’s nothing else I need or want in that moment and if it was to be the last that would be a glorious end. I always feel that way here in those moments when there’s no past or future and the present is so perfect and complete that nothing else is needed or matters.
I continue on the path but not for long as I am a habitual off-the-path walker. I always need to go in where wild resides. I need to get close to it and it makes itself known by making scratches on my legs, sticking things to my clothes and dipping my feet in mud. I feel feral and ecstatic. Makes me feel I belong that little bit more. It is the unknown yet feels like home. I scramble up a wooded hill and it is like my own invisible circle – a place where magic is the law not just a possibility. It is all so simple and fresh. It is always there and doing its thing. It knows itself as much as anything on earth can ever know itself. This is a true nature of things. I want to be that way if only I never had to leave or having to do things or even think. Humans are limited through complicating things. It is never simple in our minds and we dwell in those self-imposed prisons without realising it, by habit, automatically. Awareness does not come easy to us and we are easily led into traps of our own lives.
I wrap my arms around a silver birch, wet and earth-smelling. Its smooth bark is like a touch of a loved one. My grandmother comes to mind and memories of walking in silver birch forests in my childhood flood in. Every touch here means something, every smell is a reminder how entwined I am with nature in my body and spirit. I lose track of time. There is no time here, only life, only what you see and feel.
I am having to drag myself out back on to the path. Deer to my left startled and frozen as they pick up my scent. They look right at me before fleeting. I smile. Clean air hits every inch of my body and I could almost be floating I feel so uplifted as happiness spreads through me. I let my hair loose and stand catching every bit of the breeze that is sweet and the most soothing thing I could ask for. I stand still for a minute hungry for more, taking each breath and there’s more coming. I can’t get enough. It is never enough.
I get moving again and come across some cottages by a loch-side. I always wonder what it must be like to live in such a place. I used to get envious to a point of passing out but since have learnt a lot more. At this point I am under no illusion that life here is easy. My initial idealised vision has truly been grounded in reality of life on an island, in a land so wild, raw and free that one has to work at belonging. Every cottage makes me think and wonder of a possibility of a compromise. It is a symbol of a relationship between a human and nature. It offers a possibility of finding out if one is brave enough.
Stroking a thick coat of a highland coo I touch something primal. Animals bring a sense of kinship to my instinctual animalistic self. I am in love every time I touch an animal. They are warm, looking right at me with their black eyes and there is a connection no doubt. A lot can be learnt from the beasts of that land. Birds of pray are everywhere here, they are noisy one minute and gliding silently the next, barely there.
Time to turn back. I am so happy, utterly at peace and content. My body feels satisfied like it’s had the most nourishing meal. Nothing else needed. Nothing needs to be added or taken away. It is complete. I am whole.
It is a period of wrapping things up in a wider sense of the beginning of the harvest season. To me it makes absolutely sense and after all is said and done what is left is a simple life, gratitude, people that we love, fulfilling work and creativity in every day with self-awareness, but not analysis. We are now done with analysis, I feel, and shifted towards moment-by-moment daily values and really breathing life in as it comes. This year has brought so many improvements to the ways things run, which is applicable to individual lives and the collective, and it is good to be able to look back and be grateful for having arrived at this point in the year and see how things were and how they are now through our own personal creation, tweaking, restructuring and letting things fall away as needed. The difference is huge. I am excited to start reaping the fruits/rewards of the seeds that I planted back in March. I remember that period of confusion, trepidation and nervous excitement of the unknown. Planting season always keeps me sane and grounded. Here we are with my land bursting with fresh organic produce that ends up on my plate and in my body. Very satisfying, indeed.
This summer for the first time in many years I am not depressed. I get seasonal summer depression (SAD in reverse) every year with no fail, but not this time. Instead I have been happy and noticed how I enjoy everything, however small, and gratitude has gone up a level also transforming to this shining light that doesn’t go out, but just accompanies me in everything that I do. I am able to be more and for longer and find it a lot more natural, up another level. I have learnt to stay in one place and be okay with it. I am slower and more intentional and what has been the most useful change is simplifying everything even more. For years I have had up to three jobs and multiple projects on the go all at the same time. I slowly reduced and culled in that area and this year it is the final alteration, I hope, to the whole work dynamic. I actually want to have just one job from here onwards – this is alien as you can imagine, but necessary. As always my way of living and being has been 100% intuitive and I attribute satisfactory results to my intuition, which I have never distrusted. I don’t know any other way to live at this point and it has truly changed my life many years ago when I stepped into understanding that my inner voice is the one I need to follow. My intuition is my magic.
My trip to Scotland this year has been utterly different too. I did wonder in the last year if things were going to change following a lot of work done on it last year and struggles and turmoil last summer. It did change in a very natural and gentle way. My predictions were correct and my work paid off. As I drove on empty roads in Argyll on the way to the islands I was surrounded by pine forests and wild flowers everywhere. I saw a cloak of grief not being there anymore. The lump in my throat was no longer there. I felt free, almost flying. I could finally exhale with ease. Sadness, overwhelm and confusion cleared up, evaporated and all I felt was the land just being there, unchanged, unshaken and blooming as usual. Immense comfort entered me and it remained unchanged for the duration of the trip. I felt happy every single day. I reached some sort of completion on my journey of seven years. The number, I realised, was significant, as every grief that comes my way is always intense and lasts for seven years exactly. This was no different.
Today I can say that the feeling of contentment and calm is here within me and very welcome it is too. Being back home is like slotting into a place that holds me. It is comfortable, snug and functional. It might not be my soul home, but it is a secure base, something I created and share with people that I love. There is beauty in that for sure. I look forward to autumn and winter immensely and getting back to writing and creating.
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