While I was camping last weekend, I was thinking a lot about the land. I was thinking about Anu, one of the faces of The Morrigan, and how I don’t really know her that well. Compared to the amount of time I work with Badb and Macha, Anu is still relatively new. I realize that this needs to change.
I’ve always loved the land, and felt connected to it, particularly through the acts of gardening, and cleaning up my yard and area. Going out into nature, even through something as simple as hiking is soothing and comforting. Oddly, I don’t connect as deeply to every place it seems. When we camped at Letchworth, I didn’t feel like I was “home” but when we camped in the Adirondacks, I did. There’s something truly magical about the Adirondack mountains. Something that stirs something within my soul.
When I camp, I still try to respect that space, leaving it as if I was never there after, and sometimes better, since not every camper out there respects the space as I do.
It’s disheartening sometimes, when I first arrive, and you find trash. It’s not even obvious trash a lot of times- just things stuck in the ground that were missed by caretakers. Bits of plastic, bottle caps and can tabs. At this particularly campsite, I noticed someone screwed nails into two trees, probably for a clothesline or hammock. Like come on people.
Worse, while I was camping this time around, there was a large family gathering going on from Friday to Sunday morning. These people left messes around the whole time, garbage bags of trash just sitting out (“Hello” says the bear, the raccoon and other critters.) They cut down a live tree at some point and I had so much anger in me at the time. Anu and I may be new to one another, but she was not happy either. How dare they?
I had a thought on how humans are like locusts. They came in, they destroyed, and sometimes I think if people had their way, they’d leave nothing in their path but destruction and extinction. If every camper behaved like these folks, we’d have no where to camp.
It’s one of the reasons I take care of the land I’m on, no matter where I am. I don’t throw trash on the ground, I don’t take without asking and I never take more than I need. I always return when I can, and thank the land for everything. Letting me be there, growing strongly and being so beautiful. I thank the spirits of that place, and all the living beings there. I give an offering of fresh water and a prayer.
All of this would be gone, if greedy humans had their way.
It’s not much, given all that the land does for us. And it does nothing to dent the harm that humans are doing to this planet. I cry whenever I think of the damage humans have done, and I wonder if there will be a thriving planet in the future, or have we done so much damage that the planet will be radically changed to the point of not being able to sustain life? I honestly don’t think all life will end, but I do think the time of humans will end if we don’t change.
I realized while camping that these thoughts were from Anu, telling me to take up guardianship of the land. To protect it while I can. To clean it, to co-exist with it in a harmonious relationship. Western thought always seems to be to conquer land, and to tame the wildness. I don’t think that’s a sustainable way of life. We need to figure out ways exist side by side with nature, taking care of it, respecting it and certainly not subjugating it to human will and ego. It is possible, if humans would stop believing that they are the center of life and all things must bow to their presence.
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