Drawing the Land In

“…I sit as usual in my little kitchen with the cheerful hearth warming my back. As I look up from my writing, I can see out over the plains through my small window. The fire, Tikkie my parrot and the plains are all co-authors of this book with me.” ~ Antoinette Pienaar

I re-read this passage from The Griqua Apprentice by candle light last night during load shedding (rolling blackouts). It made me think about how the landscapes that we inhabit have a way of immersing themselves in us. We breathe their dusty breath into our bodies. We drink in of its life giving waters. We rest our feet in its sand.

Landscapes capture our imaginations and seep into our dreams. They weave stories and energetic vibrations into our auras. The elements of the land influence our experiences and shape how we live our days.

So yes, I love that the author of this passage – a wise medicine woman, a woman of the land – acknowledges that the fire and the plains are writing her book with her. In my personal work, a significant part of what I write are the stories of landscapes or gathered pieces of Nature who are sharing their sacred voices with me. I’m reminded over and again that we are one being, different parts of a greater whole, breathing and beating and creating wild Earth whispers together. Often, I am just a messenger stringing together words, transcribing songs and poems that the landscapes have been singing since ancient times.

Eco-intuitive writer or not, all writers bear witness to both people and places. In so doing, they inevitably convey the essence of the land or the spirit of place, through the sentences they string together in the name of story.

The landscapes shape our words. Sylivia demonstrates that so perfectly in her latest (and somewhat heart breaking) on The Indigo Vat where she wrote:

“Under the Beltane full moon, under the milk moon, I took the nearly completed manuscript of Elk Lines out to a little cabin on the Inverness Ridge, in Point Reyes, to walk it among the real elk lines of the land.”


“I edited with red pen on the shores of ocean and bay, hoping that I was leaving space, by carrying the manuscript out thus, for the land to have its say. To make sure my words do as much justice as they can to this place.”

To end off with, I have something a little exciting to share. I recently did a Wild Soul Story podcast interview with Mary Reynolds Thompson. In the interview, I talk about a wild soul experience and encounter I had with an owl when I was 12 years old. I’ve mentioned Mary and a beautiful book, Reclaiming the Wild Soul, here before. She is a kindred spirit whose work I really admire her work, so I’m deeply honoured to be featured in her incredible Wild Soul Story interview series. Considering that I’m not the best speaker, I’m proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone and doing it anyway. Click here to listen to the interview…  

morning journal at the sea