Dangerous Forests

family shamanism story

When I find myself in a forest I feel that I am the one being understood, not the other way around. Its as if my spirit is finally free to expand to its biggest size and once there, it finds itself wholly encompassed by something much larger and more mysterious than I can ever fully understand. Forests are in and of themselves so extraordinarily improbable a creation that I think most of us can’t really understand them, our best hope is to be understood by them.
The forest beckons to everyone, thats what the Sidhe want us to know. Forests are whole beings unto themselves. There are unique peoples making their way through the ages there – we know nothing of them. With them come gateways to other places, stories separate from humanity entirely. These are mysteries so great most of us don’t even know they exist.

Us in the garden –
she’s naked in the drought hot dirt
still trying to put everything into her mouth.
That late carrot is so sweet
she’ll eat it top to bottom
– her first straight from the Earth.

I made my first stop at Walmart in over a decade yesterday – desperate for diapers (no they didn’t have any we could use.) I stepped through the doors into what can only be described as a city. Lacking only a light rail, it was teeming with denizens obviously delighted, at home in their element.
Everyone I saw or spoke to there was smiling, but strangely none of them looked remotely healthy. I could have been walking through a giant ward of patients who were just barely pre-diabetic, pre-cancerous, pre-autoimmune devastated etc etc. I wonder how I looked beneath the fluorescent light? Everyone’s spirits were high, they were having a great time, look at this great shit we’re swimming in – why worry?

Autumn tests her hands,
she pulls at the world
to own its secrets.
We are made of dirt,
she and I.

There is a grief we all need to acknowledge, over making the Earth more barren so we can maintain the plastic scab of consumerism. When will it be sloughed off? When will the Earth say its time to move on, time to evolve without this junk? How will we explain to our grandchildren that we needed to destroy so much just so we could walk down aisles, picking out things to make us sicker and less happy than we were before?

She drifts out with the cat,
stroking her back and sharing kibble –
next on to the turkeys and chickens before a final stop at the dog
to sing, and maybe even dance a little.
These are her citizens,
each a new best friend,
her gathering of elegant family.

This morning we pulled our son from his first season of soccer because the field he’s playing on is packed with tiny pellets made of recycled tires. A great “green” idea, turns out it may be causing lethal cancers in the young players who spend their days on it. Some of these “green ideas” seem more like a toxic industry making sad excuses for itself. Still there’s a deeper truth here, one more important than another chemical screwup by our pro-profit-pro-industry enviro-phobic culture: kids need living forests, not plastic fields.
I wonder why we push forest so far away most of us have to drive to see them, what do forests hold we fear so badly? What do the aisles of our markets have that we think makes them safe, while glorious trees are apparently too dangerous to keep close by? The worlds giants make the air for us to breath and streams for us to heal ourselves at, we thank them by banishing them, and in their place pile mountains of salves that are toxic, heaps foods that do not nourish, and playgrounds that poison our young.
When we first moved to our land, our boy was young and just discovering the foods of the world. His favorite treat was to harvest his own fruit from our trees (from my post Epic Fruit): “When my son eats fruit every particle of it gets sucked right down into the bottom of his soul. That’s epic fruit.” He still meets the world that way, every fiber of his being reaching out to meet the world, even if the collision is hard and painful. He was born in love with life, so far we’ve managed not to get in the way of that. Unfortunately the world is growing more toxic around him. Even the grass he plays on is lethal.

Perfect in her strong body
she climbs higher than
any of the children in her class.
They think she’s fearless because
I’ve always been there to catch her.
They’re wrong,
she’s just fearless –
most of the time.

Our children grow up eating from the world, eating from our garden. They discover eggs hidden in nests our flocks of hens have gone to great lengths to hide. They are at home when the desperate coyotes grab one of our sneaky hens mid-day. They look into Bella’s eyes when she turns her nose to the wind and her hackles start to rise. They are surrounded by woods the Sidhe still call home. There is enough forest there they can still feel its mystery like I do.
We’ll be journeying deeper into the dangerous forests as the years roll by. We’ll be searching out streams that are living beings, we’ll be consorting with spirits that are not entirely safe. We’ll be experiencing things science tells us are not real. Somehow I think we’ll be safer than those happy people spending their days wandering the aisles of Walmart. But then again with the Sidhe, you never know.

Still – we’ll take our chances, me and the Carrot Queen.

New Carrot Queen

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