The Shapeshifters' Arms is a place for everyone who loves our Earth to dream rewilding into life ... a place to sit and ponder on this, feel your connection with everything else, and feel the joy and beauty of this connection.
For the dream of re-wilding ...
Donated by Elen Sentier
5th February 2016
As Einstein said, matter is compressed energy ... we are all energy and we are all connected. The atoms and particles that make up our bodies have all been everything else – rock, air, water, plant, animal and other people – and they will be again when we no longer need them.
The grove is a place to sit and ponder, feel your connection with everything else, and feel the joy and beauty of this connection. Trees hold our life, they give us the air we breathe, they make food out of sunlight for us and conserve the water we need to drink. And birch trees help birth and nourish the mycorrhiza that spin their webs for over 40 miles (and maybe much further) through the forests. These amazing mushrooms organise the water and food between the plants, they even transfer food (carbon) from a tree that has plenty to one that is starving. They connect everything to everything.
This grove is a place for us to sit with our back to a tree. We allow the threads to spin into our minds and take us dreaming into the world of the plants, show us the interconnection of everything … and of ourselves with everything. Life is beautiful and wonderful, we humans need to bring ourselves back to that essential knowing and sitting with trees is an excellent way of doing this. Sitting with trees brings stillness. The mind releases its need to chatter and as the quiet comes so we begin to hear the voices of everything else. The birds come, little rustles in the grass show us there are tiny beasties all around living their lives, and if we sit very still they may come and show themselves, sit with us, even sit on our hand or trouser leg. The thrill of being trusted by a wild creature so that they will come right up to you, maybe even touch you, brings overwhelming joy to the heart. We all need this very much. If you continue to sit there then other beasts may come too – foxes, deer, badgers if it’s twilight and you remembered to bring some peanuts, stoats and weasels, rabbits and hares. And, maybe, even a wildcat will come and look at you, meet your eyes and greet you. And one day, maybe even soon, as you sit there in the grove a shadow will form amongst the leaves, a grey shadow maybe. As you watch you notice the shadow has pointed ears with tufts on the top. Deep golden eyes stare at you. She comes forward, her red-gold coat shining in the dappled sunlight, the black spots shimmer and the black tuft of her tail glows. Then you see she’s not alone, a little one creeps out between her forepaws, mews and pats her leg playfully. She sits down and you realise the low background rumble is her purring. You sit together, watching the little one play and then she stands up. You know your time with her is over, ‘Thank you,’ you whisper and you know that she has heard you, understands.
You are alone again. You sit, remembering. Those are moments you will treasure all your life. You lean your head back against the tree and shut your eyes. More dreams come to you. This time they begin with a long deep howl. Straightway it’s answered, and answered again and again. Your skin tingles and a smile creeps onto your mouth, you know you are dreaming and have not the slightest wish to wake. ‘Come!’ your heart whispers and soon you hear the patter of delicate, clever paws that know their way so well through the forest, ‘Come,’ you whisper again, ‘please come’. In your dream your eyes open and all around you now stand the grey shadows, tongues lolling, smiling, eyes shining with curiosity. ‘A human!’ you hear in your head, ‘a human who wants to know us!’ The alpha, a white female comes slowly towards you, you sense she doesn’t wish to frighten you. You stay quite still, projecting love and delight. Her nose is two inches from yours, you smell her sweet breath, her tongue comes and licks your face … your stop breathing and your heart gives a little skip. She moves away from you and the others come up, they nose and lick and push you, soon you are rolling in a heap of warm fur, being licked and played with as if you were a cub. The alpha female gives a short bark, the pack looks up, they give you quick lick and nose-pushes, and then they are off, following her back into the forest.
You open your eyes for real in the waking world. Somehow you're lying on the ground, amongst the leaves and your clothes are all mussed up. You sit up, shake your head, staring around you. What is that? You lean over to look at a mark in a patch of mud. A dog? A very big dog? But you know it isn’t. You smile and fold the memory up inside your heart, secret and safe. ‘Thank you,’ you whisper and somehow you think you hear a faint howl in response. You get up and put a hand on the birch trunk, thanking the tree for all it has given you. You know your dream was real but that it was from the future … you hope that, one day, you will return and that future will be real.
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