I’m sitting on a camping stool looking out at nettles and the trees beyond. Leaves are rustling and falling like rain on and around me; autumn is truly here.
While I sit here it occurs to me I’m not so sure if my previous ‘love of nature’ was all that deep.
I wonder if it’s been more about superficial aesthetics than anything deeper.
But then I question if there is anything deeper in the first place?
I think about the dirt underneath my feet, and I think about being buried underneath it and wonder what that would feel like.
A rivulet of disgust and discomfort overcomes my body with a shiver.
What am I disgusted by? I ask myself, the first word that comes to mind is ‘parasites.’
Then I look on at the nettles before me and I feel like getting down on my hands and knees, digging and then rubbing the dirt onto my face.
Because it strikes me that interacting with all that dirt is the truest interaction with life & death and, thus all our fears exist within that soil and built up decaying matter.
And if I could just get to know and get comfortable with that which lies beneath my feet then all fears can be dissuaded.
And if not, surely it would still root me somehow?
Like the trees around me and ahead of me, all rooted down into that dying and living matter, networking with fungi and each other.
Rooted to their spot seemingly still yet within and underneath it movement is happening in tiny little increments.
Their roots shook by the traffic on the road next to this little pathetic wood.
And if I really concentrated, if I really got down to the ground maybe I’d feel those vibrations too?
If I sit here long enough perhaps I could become rooted like the trees?
Making my own rustling autumnal music as my leaves fall, red, yellow and brown.
Most of the trees are anonymous pillars of something I’m trying to attain because my knowledge of tree identities is woeful.
But what I do know is that trees are like the knots that tie communities together, human and non-human alike.
For example, I know that with an oak tree there is a high chance a Jay buried the acorn that became the tree.
And I know that there are caterpillars that rely on the oak tree come spring and that blue tits rely heavily on those caterpillars.
And that’s just the ones I know about!
According to the woodland trust there are 2,300 species supported by oak trees and 326 species depend upon it!
Trees are the centre and the knots of communities, yet as people walk their dogs past me, it is not the trees that they notice. It’s the man they give the side eye to because he’s sat on a camping stool in a public ‘park’ that is barely big enough to call itself a park.
In the end I decide not to get down on my hands and knees and rub dirt on my face, not just because of the onlookers that already consider me weird, but because knowing my luck with the amount of dog shit left around here I’ll end up with dog shit on my face.