Notes from Windward: #66

The Land

Amy muses after a return visit to Windward

[Editor's Note: Amy was one of our first interns back when she was an undergrad at Evergreen College. She recently stayed with us for a few weeks to lend a hand during a busy time. Reflecting on her time here she wrote ....]

      I walked the lands of Windward as I walked it eight years ago. I had to walk slowly at first and savor that pain which came from the disuse of my legs. Yet the land tells me stories of things that has happened to it. There was a fire, I see bark that was burnt. She tells me in fall where orchids, camas, wild onions, and lilies have grown. I saw where deer have fallen, feathers were molted, and bees tunneled. I see where people have come and gone across it many times shifting rocks, leaving bits of themselves, and packing down certain spots into rock hard paths.

      Windward moved me yet again. I had been silent for nearly six months. Held back inside me was words and emotions from trying to deny what the land meant to me. And here I was. By most people˘s imaginations a person like me with my education should be successful in all modern ways. To my credit I have been successful in survival and that alone.

      The wild lands are truly the place I feel the most safe and unburdened. And through study and observation I have learned the land˘s moods. The Windward lands are like that. They have patterns and shapes that relate to the natural systems of birth and entropy. Decay is as essential to an ecosystem as is the sprouting of new seeds. And eventually all things will return to their mother as detritus to begin again.

      I think sometimes it is hard to see past the imperfect creations that man has left behind itself. In our world sickness; our ingrained human taught memes know our deep cultural indoctrination people still seek to create home in the image of their predecessors image of home. Windward˘s goal is to create a home or homess but instead model them after the earth itself. This was once the way humans lived and will probably be the only way humans will be able to live in the future. And to do this one must transcend those cultural conventions which are no longer in line with model of the earth system.

      And this is the greatest challenge for any person coming into an intentional community. You have to make the jump; a leap of faith and not look back. The western consumer world is a waking dream. It seeks to soothe us with comforts and in the end we find ourselves in service to a network that supports death and destruction so that people can be more comfortable.

      For me being that I am on the low-end of the caste system in America, it had become a waking nightmare. To be the person who can own education; I must be strong, beautiful, and present myself accordingly so in a conventional manner. But to be these things I must be medicated, cut into pieces, my body mutilated, and my brain numbed. I must teach things to children I do not believe in and pretend I am normal.

      I met a man once in college; a well-known native healer and herbalist. He spoke of the hazards of being in this profession. A healer becomes a magnet to draw the illness of their patients and channel it back into the earth. Often times the healer themselves becomes the place of grounding. Sickness brings understanding, understanding brings compassion, and those that heal from the experience of the same pain are the most needed.

      The wild land draws the world sickness from us and into it. It silences the screaming of the demands of human culture, and the stress of having to constantly be performing roles laid out to give others power and influence. Slowly the voices are stripped away and the true-true message comes through. Keep this thought in your mind when you see Windward. Decay is happening and will continue happening. Things that have reached the point of death will be taken apart, away, distilled, reused, and reborn. This is the nature of the land; a closed system where life and death are forever intertwined in the dance of destruction and creation.

      The land, the earth, terra firma, el mundo, or pacha mama is a closed system. Truly everything that comes from the hands of man had its very essential beginning within this life system. While the land holds these things in balance, humans sought to distill them whether that was wise for the system or not. As well no matter what we do as humans; the land will continue its natural cycles with or without human life.

It's the land, it is our wisdom
It's the land that shines us through
It's the land that feeds our children
It's the land ... You can not own the land,
The land owns you.
                  Solid Ground
by Doogie MacLean

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 66