All posts tagged: connection

What does not bend, breaks

Now that we’ve set a departure date, I’ve been reflecting a lot on how much living in this wild place, often alone, has changed me. In particular, and inspired by a grove of bamboo that I’ve only just learned to love, how much stronger I’ve become. Backwoods living has tested my strength physically and emotionally and I’ve discovered a depth of resourcefulness I never knew I had. I am proud of my strong arms and that I’m no longer afraid when I hear wild dogs howling at the moon or when I wake up to the smell of bushfires in the forest at night. What’s absent now though is the stubborn, white knuckled and rigid view of strength I came here with. A softer more intelligent strength has taken its place. A strength that is not afraid of bowing humbly before adversity knowing just like the bamboo, it will bend and not break. I lost a lot of metaphorical stems along the way though before I realised my un natural view of strength no longer …

After the flood

Finally last weekend, after months of extreme heat and little rain, we got our first summer flood. And it was a proper flood, isolating many small communities along the waterways that weave their way through the local river valleys. I realised that of all the things that I cherish about living here, it’s these flood days that I love the most. That might sound strange but floods are part of life here and, most of the time, they are an opportunity to slow down and enjoy the serenity. I think they’re also a rite of passage. You haven’t truly lived here until you’ve experienced a flood. I still remember the excitement of our first one. We couldn’t wait to get down to the river and watch the bridge disappear. We had three that first summer, one isolating us for 5 days and leaving us with out power for longer. Since that time we’ve had many more with each one a time for rich connection with family, neighbours and neighbours we never knew we had. Even hermits come out to …

The love of thousands

This week I started reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, a former forrester in Germany who now works actively for the return of primeval forests. He writes that forests are in fact a social network supporting the sick, nourishing the young and working together to regenerate in times of devastation. They flourish in community just like humans and a tree is only as strong as the trees that surround it. Both nature and nurture are recognised as having an impact on lifespan with the ‘maternal instincts’ of mother trees playing a role in the nurturing of young trees, passing on their legacy through their fungal root connections. In our human world, it seems nature and nurture are also inextricably linked. Entangled together manifesting as our innate disposition and our inner voice, influencing our behaviour, our relationships and our longevity. We are a potent mix of our essential selves and the accumulated experience of those that have come before us. A cocktail of DNA and generations of lived experience.

Rose is a rose…loveliness extreme

We’ve been back from the cooler climes of the Northern Hemisphere for a month now and the summer we’ve returned to has been brutal. Two days ago we reached a record breaking temperature of 48.9 degrees celsius, the hottest place on earth according to some news reports. Extreme heat like that silences and suffocates everything in its wake. It might sound dramatic, but it feels like we’ve been in survival mode for weeks. Another valuable lesson in surrendering to the dictation of nature and a frightening glimpse into our global warming future. But thankfully today I’m exhaling deeply and breathing in the sweet smell of rain. The forest is alive again with the sounds of the animal world. After nearly 5 years living in this wild and sometimes extreme landscape, I remain in awe of the power of the natural world. I’ve come to realise that to flourish in this wild place, I must also be fierce and irrepressible. To stand steady amid the chaos and boldly express my own true nature. That’s when the magic …

These are the good old days

After a month in The Netherlands reconnecting with family and old friends, tonight I’m leaving on a jet plane for home. I’ve said many goodbyes over the past 25 years but this time I’m feeling particularly melancholic. To have a life in more than one place is a gift for which I am very grateful but at times like this, I feel torn. Being here always takes me on a journey through past lives and a rollercoaster of emotions. Amsterdam in particular is where my heart feels most at home. It’s the city where I fell in love, truly felt comfortable in my own skin and learned to be a mother. Maybe it’s a symptom of growing older and understanding the impermanence of life that I’m struggling more and more with letting go and with the feeling that I still have unfinished business. Often the heart just knows what the mind struggles to understand.

Not drowning, waving…

Today I woke up to the smell of smoke, not unusual for this time of year, but today it was close enough to see the flumes lapping over the ridge line 5 kms away. Our valley usually floods at this time of year and the local saying is that someone only has to pee upstream and we’re under. In this age of climate change, it seems not even Bellingen is drought proof. Earlier this week we moved to level 3 water restrictions and at this rate, with no rain forecast, we’ll be at level 4 very soon, the first time in nearly 30 years. Despite her resilience, it’s clear nature does not have an endless supply of resources and when the balance is out, she’s vulnerable just like us.

(What’s so funny ’bout) peace, love and understanding

Lately I’ve felt very grateful for the isolation of my hilltop perch far removed from the chaos of global affairs. Has the world really become an uncertain, turbulent and unharmonious place to be right now?  The lyrics of Elvis Costello’s “what’s so funny ’bout peace, love and understanding” couldn’t be more relevant. As is my bent, I started thinking about what we can learn from nature and her wisdoms to help us make sense of it all.