Greenfields, near Stow on the Wold, UK
Gillian Cornwall, September, 2015.
It's as simple as the way a line of trees, or a stone wall, separates two fields along a rolling, verdant landscape where, midway up a rise, the line is accentuated by a perfectly shaped English oak caught in one's sites for a perfect moment as one rolls past on the train, delighting in a field dotted with a hundred head of sheep, white clouds of wool upon verdant pasture.
The scene is redolent of our centuries old, British wool industry, steeped in tradition (and urine - read on); back to medieval times, when it was big business. The wool business was in place long before the industrial revolution and machinery that toiled with people controlling the machinery, instead of people toiling directly - like the poor Fuller whose job it was to place the wool in a barrel of stale urine and to spend all day trampling on the wool to produce softer cloth. Not fresh pee, mind you, it had to be stale.... who figured that out?... A reminder of harder, but more simple times when need equaled make, find, do or do without. When I say simpler, it is not that I think the life of someone who trampled urine-soaked wool all day was easy, rather that the line between need and resource was less convoluted.
Perhaps this is what it is all about for me: a reminder of a time when our struggles were focused on the basic needs of living.
After a month back in my ancestral home of England last year, I came back to this place, this Canada, this land which was stolen by my European ancestors, this land on which I have lived my life. I have worked here and made it my home. Six months ago I was laid off from what I thought was a secure job of twenty years.
For a long time I have been focusing on the way I live my life and how I can make it easier and better but that breed of ease has changed these past six months. It has been replaced with thoughts of bridging the gap between need and attainment with fewer conductors and referees in the way and more certain footing while working to keep my ship afloat. I must focus again on the toil and the desired result: keeping a door between me and the bedlam of society.
Above all, I wish for time and simplicity: the right to stop and enjoy the beauty of the earth - to nurture it so it is not destroyed through greed and a perceived shorter path to simplicity for those who wield the most money and the most perceived power - razing all that stands in their way as they stuff the fruits of the world down their insatiable, selfish gobs.
I have been without a safe home in my distant past. It was embarrassing and hard and I kept it hidden from my friends for quite some time. I am too past my prime to deal with that nonsense again.
I cope with the fear of being homeless through memories of my homeland: the simple line between two fields, two fields that have remained the same since anyone can remember - something preserved, that I hope won't change with a gust of the wind or the swipe of a power-hungry, selfish, fear-filled, political ogre ... Because that bad experience would "Trump" most of the others... Couldn't help myself there - sorry.
I miss those fields and the villages, where people still know one another and maybe even care for one another. I know I am creating an unrealistic picture in my mind, but it is what I need to do right now. I need to believe that somewhere on this earth, we are doing better at stopping to care for one another and light the way for one another when darkness prevails.
Mostly, I miss my cousin and I am eternally grateful to her for the loving care she gave me while with her. She restored my health and my faith in the loving care we can share with one another. I have never in my life been so safe or well taken care of as I was with her for that month. It healed me and restored me. I hope she gives me opportunity to give that gift to her one day!
The thing is, if we all care for one another - it could be okay. If I, if all of us, could just let go of our fear in the guise of safety, if we rediscover and trust our instincts, we may learn to do as well as the wild creatures of the Earth who have retained their instinct, their connection to the universe, without question or thought. They simply know - because they allow themselves to do so. They are directly involved in the equation of their needs as it relates to their fulfillment - individually and as groups. The only thing that has tampered with their well-being is humanity.
We humans have lost the plot and unless we start to pay attention from our hearts, from our very cellular network that connects us to all, well, quite frankly, we are hopping into the toilet and reaching for the flush. Does a flush trump a Trump?
Have a great week. I send you love and peaceful wishes for simplicity. Thanks for taking the time and patience to read this through the flu haze in which it was written....
Gillian Cornwall, c. October 2, 2016
Dedicated to my cousin, in gratitude and admiration.
I love you, Kaz!
Sheep - Wigginton, Herts, UK
Gillian Cornwall, c. October 2015