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Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

 

Oak tree sprouting from acorn

SIN…Seasonal Introversion Normality.
Not like SAD, because it’s not a disorder (I suspect many of you have just stopped reading…”How disappointing! I thought this was going to be x-rated!”)

I am an introvert. According to those online survey things, I fall off the end of the introvert/extrovert  bell curve. This is NOT a bad thing, despite what society as a whole seems to believe.

We live in a world where extroversion is encouraged and rewarded. The child who prefers to sit and read alone rather than ‘joining in’ is labelled as odd and bullied, often overtly by peers, but also more subtly by adults. Those phrases like “living in a dream world”, “away with the fairies”, whilst on the surface innocuous enough, are said so often with an undercurrent of criticism. Why aren’t you out there joining clubs, making friends, pushing yourself forward? Because if you don’t, you will never ‘get anywhere’ in life.

And on one level , this is true. Who are the people held up as successful? Actors, performers, politicians, business leaders… people who push themselves forward, people with loud voices.  Our world is run by extroverts.  They control  politics, the media, religion (you don’t become arch-bishop by being a shy, retiring introvert), the economy, the armed forces , the arts (think of all that networking and mutual back scratching).  Loud mouths get funding, pushy people get promotions, the thicker the skin the higher you fly.
I wonder what the world would be like if they stopped shouting and listened to what the introverts have to say, if decisions were made based on considered thinking, and not because they sounded good and would make you more popular with your friends…

Another frequent criticism of introverts, is that we are so wrapped up in our “own little worlds”, that we don’t care about anyone else.  In my experience, it’s more often quite the opposite. Extreme extroverts (like many politicians) spend their  time projecting themselves out, thrusting themselves and their opinions on to the world at large. Extroversion is defined as “the act, state, or habit of being predominantly concerned with and obtaining gratification from what is outside the self”.
If you never look inwards, never explore your own inner world, how can you connect with the inner world of other people? How can you truly empathise?

Imagine if introversion was respected in childhood. Imagine if instead of constantly trying to get introverts to ‘come out of themselves’, extroverts were encouraged to ‘go into themselves’. Imagine if some of those political and business leaders could understand and empathise with the inner worlds of other people…

Which brings me back to SIN.

One of the biggest problems I have with socialising and going into places filled with people is that I feel utterly drained and exhausted by the experience. Not surprising really… According to numerous sources, extroverts tend to be energised when around other people, whilst introverts are “easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation from social gatherings and engagement,”. There is a theory that extroverts take energy from others, whereas introverts give it.

Fortunately, I live in a forest in the deepest countryside. No people, no traffic, just Nature. I don’t have to don my protective socialising armour. I’m sure an extrovert would be bored stiff within a day or two here. No parties, no concerts, no pub, no shops, no chit-chat. Would they notice the new buds on a tree, sit and listen to the birdsong, wander in the woods with no ‘goal’, just feeling utter, blissful content at being there?
Most people feel happier when it’s sunny. But many also live in an artificial man-made world. Electric lights, constant central heating or air conditioning mean people don’t live their lives to the rhythm of Nature. And life doesn’t change so very much from winter to summer. The inside of a supermarket or an office or a hospital remains the same.

But in the country, it’s different. Winter is cruel, bleak, hard. Beautiful too, in it’s own way, but it’s a time when Mother Earth draws inwards…It’s her introverted time; her time to look inwards, to nurture her inner Earth and the seeds lying sleeping beneath the surface, that will burst into new life in spring.

When you live within Nature, Nature lives within you. And as without, so within.
Every winter, Persephone is in the Underworld, and I draw in to my inner world. This isn’t depression. There’s no misery, no unhappiness, just  natural ‘Seasonal Introversion Normality’. It’s not a time of gloomy navel gazing, but a time to nurture the inner seeds.
Unsurprisingly, in a world ruled by extroverts, people champion ‘EXperience’. How many times have you seen those lists of ‘things I want to do (experience) before I die’, heard people say what they have learnt from experience? It’s all about DOING and experiencing, and getting ‘out there’.
I think there should be a new word. ‘Inperience’. A word that recognises the value of inner journeys, of dreaming, of imagination; a word that describes the worlds to which the reader of a good book is transported.
Our world needs introverts and inperiences just as much as extroverts and experiences, in the same way that it needs winter as much as it needs summer.

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Last night I climbed into bed looking forward to a peaceful night of sleep and dreams. I laid my head upon the soft, cool pillow, closed my eyes…’Whooooosh….Whoooooosh….WHOOOOOSH’

I opened my eyes. ‘WHOOOSH!’ Something shot past inches above my head. I turned on the light.

A bat.
Aaarghh and double aaarghhh!

I like bats. We share a house. But when they fly down the chimneys (often), it’s not so good. Round and round and round the room they fly, at an unfeasible speed, sonar so sensitive that they skim past objects, leaving only millimetres to spare…including my head. There’s nothing I can do. If you’ve ever tried herding bats, you’ll understand…

So…back to bed. Eyes closed. Trying to ignore the ‘WHOOOSH….WHOOOSH…’

I wake again. ‘Drip…Drip…DRIP…DRIP DRIP DRIP…*rain noise*’ It’s raining…in my bedroom.

I am prepared. When it rains outside, it rains inside somewhere in my house. So I have buckets, towels and umbrellas at the ready.

The logical and practical person now says ‘mend your roof’. Yes. Fair comment. But, there is a factor that you haven’t taken into consideration. Mother Nature… (read on…)

So, rain catchers in place, I return to bed.

‘Woo..wooowooo…wooowooowooo’. I wake. ‘Woowoowoo’ An owl. I close my eyes again. Living in a forest, I get treated to the Wagnerian owl chorus from Tristan and Isowlda most nights.

‘Aaaaieeeee….AAAAIIIIIEEEAAAAIIIII…SCREECH’…I wake. The barn owls have arrived and it sounds as though someone is being hideously murdered outside my window…and then remurdered 30 seconds later…

Back to sleep….and into my dream comes creeping ‘scrabble, scratch, scrat-scrat-scrat…eeek….eeek…SQEEEeeeek’…I wake. Sigh.

I share my house with mice, rats, dormice, bats, owls, stone martens, spiders, swallows, sparrows, house martens, occasional snakes, frogs, toads…and monsters with hob-nailed boots that stamp on the ceiling above my bed at night. I’m happy to share. It’s no more my house than theirs.
BUT… it’s because of them that it rains indoors. Every time I repair my roof, within a week they are rebreaking it. They like the holes. They act as doors and let in the water to fill their drinking troughs and baths.

If I don’t like it, I suppose I can move out into the barn. There’s nice warm hay there to sleep on after all…….. :-/

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What do you think of when you hear the word magic? Spells, wands, potions, Harry Potter? Something worked by witches in secret rites, or that exists only in stories? Nothing to do with your own day to day life…
Really?

In my last post, I wrote of enchanted places; places where the line between the worlds of men and spirits is blurred and where the air shimmers with magic…Not a remote, dusty textbook magic, or a sparkly, frothy Disney magic, and not on-line magic-school magic! It’s not a magic that you ‘learn’. It’s a magic you already know…the most powerful magic there is…The magic of Gaia, Mother Earth.

Living in a forest, wrapped in the cloak of Nature, the magic infuses everything. You join in the dance of creation and destruction, death and rebirth, ride the ever turning wheel from Spring to Summer, Summer to Autumn, Autumn to Winter and back again to Spring.

Autumn… « The forest is aquiver with a wild, raw energy; the air heavy with the scent of over-ripe blackberries, early leaf mulch and the deep, potent tang of mushrooms. My goats are capering in the orchard with reckless abandon, drunk on fermenting cider apples…And the deer rut is about to begin. »

Winter…  « One of those jewel bright, sparkling days of winter, when the world emerges into the morning light in high definition; The sort of day where the air seems so extraordinarily pure and clear, that when you take a deep breath and fill your lungs, you feel as high as a kite! »

Spring… « Tiny wisps of cloud drifting dreamily in a sky of forget-me-not blue…Hawks wheeling over the hay meadow… The scent of lilac, honeysuckle and freshly cut grass…Shards of spring green light dappling the forest floor…Wood anemones, celandine and campion…a chorus of joyous mistle thrushes, golden orioles and wood pigeons… »

Summer… « A steamy, sultry 34° in the shade. The birds and crickets are singing sybaritic barcaroles, butterflies come with velvety kisses to drink from my skin, and the scent of roses hangs languidly in the air. » 

 

Stop awhile and listen to Nature, listen to her heart beating, her voice in the wind and in the songs of the birds…

 

The beauty of our Earth transcends words. Just trying to get my head around a fraction of it, I feel utterly overwhelmed…And then I look up at the sky, the stars and imagine the infinity of beauty in the Universe. Magic… The greatest magic of all. 

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