The Enchanted Life

“Because enchantment, by my definition, has nothing to do with fantasy, or escapism, or magical thinking: it is founded on a vivid sense of belongingness to a rich and many-layered world; a profound and whole-hearted participation in the adventure of life. The enchanted life presented here is one which is intuitive, embraces wonder and fully engages the creative imagination – but it is also deeply embodied, ecological, grounded in place and community. It flourishes on work that has heart and meaning; it respects the instinctive knowledge and playfulness of children. It understands the myths we live by; thrives on poetry, song and dance. It loves the folkloric, the handcrafted, the practice of traditional skills. It respects wild things, recognises the wisdom of the crow, seeks out the medicine of plants. It rummages and roots on the wild edges, but comes home to an enchanted home and garden. It is engaged with the small, the local, the ethical; enchanted living is slow living.

Ultimately, to live an enchanted life is to pick up the pieces of our bruised and battered psyches, and to offer them the nourishment they long for. It is to be challenged, to be awakened, to be gripped and shaken to the core by the extraordinary which lies at the heart of the ordinary. Above all, to live an enchanted life is to fall in love with the world all over again. This is an active choice, a leap of faith which is necessary not just for our own sakes, but for the sake of the wide, wild Earth in whose being and becoming we are so profoundly and beautifully entangled.”

The Enchanted Life, Sharon Blackie

What if?

It’s hardly a theory, more a feeling born of so long spent outside, but what if landscapes somehow become repositories of personal and collective memory? What if traces are imprinted or stored in an imperceptible or intangible way, and the land itself retains the culture of a place? Then, what if when a certain set of stimuli is triggered, a kind of molecular union occurs between that place and a person whereby memories and experiences are passed on like the sting of a nettle? You may laugh and perhaps it’s all overactive imagination, but this is what it feels like as I sit and look out tonight from the edge of the wood – the sense of a presence, an emptiness and sadness, not of my making but occupying the ground, as if time is flicking back and forth and beyond worlds, long since committed, buried, forgotten, are leaning into mine.

Rob Cowen, Common Ground