(Bag End, from the LOTR movies)
Between your ears and behind your eyes you hold profound pattern-recognition software, the most powerful “computing” tool known to man, evolved to a high degree of effectiveness over massive spans of time.
And it’s purpose: to allow you to THRIVE.
This refined equipment allowed your ancestors to seek and find places of prosperity and build beloved communities there. The patterns they saw spoke to them in visions and the thunderous voice of revelation: “you are home.”
(Rima Stains, one of my favorite artists: http://www.thehermitage.com)
This equipment behind our eyes and between our ears resonates when we near places where certain patterns converge, where the land is configured to catch life enhancing energies and provide us with safety, security, ample clean water, abundant food, connection to wild nature, growing fertility, and a large diverse population of our “wild” cousins, plants and “animals” to marvel at and share our lives with. And there are many more patterns that we can’t consciously understand or put into words but that we feel in our bones.
This voice still speaks to us, but we refuse to listen.
This voice still speaks and these visions haunt our dreams, calling us “home” to a place we can no longer find. At best, we do our seeking on vacations where echoes of such places still exist. Our yearning for home has grown so great that we exaggerate the patterns in our “amusement parks,” movies and resorts. Fantasy art is our attempt to reconnect with the mysteries of nature, and so it is beautiful. But we’ve lost the ability to see our non-human animal cousins as beings as mystical, magical and wise as any fantasy “beast” or “monster.” The deer in my backyard seem every bit as enchanting as anything Hagrid would teach about at Hogwarts, complex, feeling, living beings with their own life-journeys and perspectives. What could they teach us? What would they think of our human way of life? How do their philosophies account for the inexplicable acts of their human cousins?
(Telling the bees, Charles Napier Hemy)
They don’t need to speak English to communicate with us or connect with us as beings sharing this strange journey. We only have to start listening.
And even forests, rivers, wetlands and mountains speak to us if we can learn to listen.
(Marie Stillman, Woman Reading)
If we start to listen again, we can turn this pattern recognition equipment to a new purpose: not to seek out new places because the ones we inhabit are lacking, but to transorm the places where we already live. We can build these patterns into our places so that they resonate with mysterious forces and life-enhancing energies, and more fully provide for our needs. We can use this pattern software to make our environments healthier and richer for all the beings around us.
To start listening, we need to reconnect with this voice where it still speaks to us most strongly: in our fantasies and art. In our art, we are already on our way back “home.” Are there patterns even in these fantasies that can be applied in our lives?
(More Beatrice Potter, the garden gate.)
These are a few images that I’ve recently felt call me home. I’ll start sharing more of these as I come across them. If you have your own, I hope you will share them.