Our last day at Landmatters. We wake up feeling deep gratitude for the life that we live, to be doing the things we are doing, and meeting the people we are meeting. Such incredible opportunities…
I spend the morning planting beans with Charlotte, who was one of the founders of Landmatters, whilst Pete and Tom built a table for seed trays out of wood from the surrounding woodland.
That evening, we are invited to dinner at Simian and Miranda’s. We learn more about the projects that sustain The Warburtons. Their project, the TreeCircle project, which raises money to plant trees, selling small wooden pebbles that they make with a hand-made tumbler contraption. and hand-drawn and written fairy story books.
Over dinner, I have an interesting conversation with a woman called Nat, who works with horses, and equine psychology, which explores our relationship with horses for therapy. I ask her for some advice on how to approach a horse. She explained that we need to communicate to them like prey animals, with respect, and approach them slowly, following an arch, rather than walking straight up to them. Keep the head bowed, and the eyes toward the ground; She said this was the best way to approach a horse… Apparently this could even be a way to approach any prey animal – even frogs! A friend had tried this with the frogs in her garden, and it worked – they didn’t run away. It started me thinking about how we move around in nature, how we approach animals, and move through natural habitats. There is a potential here for dialogue, to explore relationship, and interaction, but so often we walk unconsciously, unaware. I started to think about the way I have walked up to horse in the past, unthinkingly reaching out a hand, wanting to touch it. What is this lack of awareness? This lack of connection?
The feeling is that Landmatters is a little more guarded than Embercombe, a little more protective, and understandably so… I learn a little bit more about the politics of Landmatters, and the horror stories of journalists with hidden agendas, and the potential for misrepresentation… All of this seems an inevitable pat of any pioneering project – there will always be the detractors, and the people coming from a place of fear, or of ego… this, it seems, is all part of the process. It seems that the activist nature of the project, the more “Uncivilized”, radical aspect, makes it harder to penetrate. But this feels somehow to be a positive thing, in a way, a drive to maintain integrity, to protect. People here are playful and friendly, as the trust builds.
With each encounter, we are learning more and more about community; about how people function, and the effect this has on one another, the land, other beings, and the bigger picture, beyond the community…