Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Challenge - listening to the land

My NaBlo posts are in the form of letters to my journal about my revision process. Along the way, I'll include Home-Made Revision Workshop posts, and my Friday Challenges.

Dear Journal,
I have been completely struck reading Sharon Butala's contemplations on land, how easily we can get disconnected from the earth, from the wild. How to remedy that? I feel a deep pervasive sorrow that even though I think I am a person who has an abiding affection for nature, I've let it become rote, I've become casual and off-hand with my connection to it.  I've taken it for granted.
In my therapy practice, every client gets one piece of homework that is the same as every other client - and that is that they walk daily, near trees, and without companionship except for perhaps a well-behaved dog. When they notice they are worrying, fretting, planning the future, regretting the past - they are to instead notice their sensory connection to nature, and to their bodies. They are asked to bring their attention to what they can smell, what noises they hear, how their bodies feel moving through space, their feet landing on the path or side-walk. They are to lose their minds, and come to their senses.
I often give younger clients a suggestion to read Bruce Chatwin's Songlines - itself a contemplation on the natural goodness of walking, on healing nature and being healed by it.
I think this needs to be a more important voice in my novel. I am feeling my way towards it - it is in the book - in many different ways - how the protagonist finds herself abandoned by what she had depended on - a solid if sometimes empty marriage; a job that in itself had meaning but with which she had become cynical, an easy sense of material wealth. And how she finds instead something that doesn't seem to fit initially - a bothersome much bigger family, connections that want her heart not just her mind, work that is difficult but demands every aspect of her - engagement in all aspects of her life. And how this comes to her because she walks this land she had no understanding of - how the land teaches her.
So, dear journal and dear readers, the challenge for this Friday is to aimlessly wander in nature this weekend and listen to what it has to tell you. Clear your mind of any other agenda item - as you would if you were meeting a dear friend after a long absence. And listen. That's what I'll be doing.

 the land that speaks to me the most.


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

A great Friday challenge! And the weather should be perfect to do it. I've frequently wondered why it's so easy to lose a connection with nature.

Words A Day said...

A nice reminder:) & something I love doing, have a great weekend:)

H. L. Banks said...

Such beautiful pictures, no wonder the land speaks to you the most. Your post spoke to me this morning when you wrote about walking with senses wide open to nature. In my WIP, the protagnoist took off for a walk in the woods taking in the fall colours, crispness of leaves and air etc. It was an unexpected turn of events and I decided I would turf it because it didn't seem to add anything to the story. And then, wow, your post. I'm leaving it in and going for a walk.

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - First, lovely 'photos! So beautiful! You're right, too, that just a small amount of time wandering around, tuning in on what nature has to tell us can work wonders. Time to put on my walking shoes...

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Wish it could be near an ocean, but I'll try to find some wilderness in this land of pig farms this weekend.

Jan Morrison said...

Elizabeth - yes, it is troublesome, this disconnect.

Niamh - I'd love to know where you go rambling!

H.L. - good idea - and while you walk you can ponder why it needs to be in there - you had an intuitive impulse - now connect it up!

Margot - hope you have nicer weather than here - it is pi@#$*ng down! At least by Sunday, I'm hoping it stops.

Diane - pig farms have their loveliness. I think. Of course, I'm a major pig-aholic, so....