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nature

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The unnameable essence of being

April 15, 2021

I am so in love with my body right now I want to swim in every glorious moment, feel it visceral and wild against skin. Yesterday I blasted uphill fireroads on the bike, lungs sucking in mouthfuls of spring, forest air. Then long swooping singletrack descents had me stood on pedals until the fronts of thighs burned like crazy, eyes focussed on the trail ahead. Slowly I’m remembering how to ride, the movement of body with bike, muscle memory calling…

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On Welsh myth and Cretian landscapes

April 13, 2021

One of the elements of the new novel, The Madness of Sara Mansfield, that’s important to me is the nature writing. Although this sci-fi trilogy nods towards dystopia, there’s also hope, and for me, the potential for new dreams always flows from nature.After wars, or in derelict places, wild plants grow, reclaiming the space, rejoicing in their fecundity. Nature knows how to heal the scars of our making. I think this is why I find books like McCarthy’s The Road…

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Wisdoms from the river and the trees

April 5, 2021

Yesterday we hiked to the source of the Severn River. We stood at the small swampy bog that is the origins of this vast and tumbling body of water that becomes so large the Severn Bridge was constructed so that we might cross.  A reminder that the humblest beginnings can grow into the most unexpected forces of nature.  Later I spoke with the trees there, who do not think of humans as friends, and I apologised for the mess we’ve…

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Bridging the gap

March 21, 2021

Yesterday I felt the spring equinox in my body. This doesn’t always happen, but more so as these days in the van roll through me. I’m trying to shape without shaping, push-then-release, open my heart to my Self.I’ve spent this past time telling my body that I love her, that she is special to me, that I’m sorry for all the times I treated her like an emotional dumping ground.Yesterday that disconnect ended – there was no ‘me’ talking to…

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*I need to vent*

February 1, 2021

It’s the last day of Spanish hunting season, which means that around 100,000 galgos hounds will be shot, abandoned, or sometimes quite brutally murdered because they’re now considered worthless.  I’m trying really hard not to turn this into a rant, but fuck, I’ve seen a few things today that have pissed me off so badly. Even though I look to the social structures that cause people to behave cruelly: capitalism reduces every action, every product and every life to €…

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snow reels

January 30, 2021

I’ve been really enjoying the Reels function on Instagram recently. Here’s a couple of short clips made of snow-fun-times, soundtracked by Kate Bush’s 50 Words for Snow as I have that on loop every winter until spring. You can find more on my Instagram Reels. View this post on Instagram A post shared by OUTSIDER [Sophie McKeand] (@sophiemckeand_outsider) View this post on Instagram A post shared by OUTSIDER [Sophie McKeand] (@sophiemckeand_outsider) View this post on Instagram A post shared by…

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nature Outdoors

Getting the laces right

January 16, 2021

Walking has kept me sane this lockdown. To be honest there’s been plenty of days I didn’t feel like leaving the van but two large hounds in a small space are great therapy because you’re going outdoors whether you like it or not.We’ve been averaging 5k a day in the week and 10k at weekends so I feel a certain low-level fitness is being maintained and even today I’m starting to notice a deeper, underlying energy return, which feels so…

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nature poetry

For the trees

January 14, 2021

I was reminded of an old poem on today’s walk (it’s from the pamphlet, Prophecy: conversations with my Self, which you can download for free from my website here). For the trees There was a place she visited oneWith forests that s t r e t c h e dPlanted, regimented, ruledAnd when she spokeThe trees did not know herAnd when she spoke with the voice of the mountainThe trees did not know themselves And she ragedAnd mountains weptFor the…

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What’s luck got to do with it?

January 12, 2021

Is it luck I’m here? The privilege of being born with a white face in a country where my passport allows easy access to almost anywhere in the world. I don’t feel it’s luck that I now live a (mostly) stress-free slow-life: that took determination, vision, and a deep desire to follow though regardless of some of the anger and gossip it generated. Is it luck that, because we’ve given up a rooted home we’re able to park with family…

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