It is beautiful Beltane and we are parked in a remote part of Slovenia with sunshine & bright birdsong streaming into the van. I’ve woken thinking of what I thought were two separate things but now realise they’re interlinked. Firstly, Andy & I met on MayDay fifteen years ago. This was the beginning of a firm friendship that evolved quite organically into a relationship over a number of months. Looking back it was more of an old-fashioned courtship – which isn’t something either of us intended, but which meant we got to know each other slowly. That getting to know each other never stops & I love how we are evolving & learning more about ourselves & each other as we travel. The second thing I woke thinking of is belonging. Yesterday I read a quote from Zadie Smith that belonging is a dirty lie, that birthplaces are accidents, and as always the mind is pulled back to Cymru – the place of my birth. Some years ago I was in France & having strong dreams of the Blonde mountains. In these dreams I refused to engage with the mountains because my loyalty lay with the Welsh landscape back home. I felt proud at this strength of character & on returning to Wales walked out in the hills & mountains to show them. They weren’t happy & berated me as a fool. ‘How can you ignore one mountain for another?’ they asked and receded from my mind. I was devastated but the silence remained. A few weeks later I had accepted this silent fate but still I walked the hills over & over. It was then the mountains spoke again: ‘There is no ‘us & them’ it’s all ‘us’, every mountain is the same. When you refuse one, you refuse us all’. As I walked I saw the heart of mountains, & it was the starry night sky. I have never felt such power & beauty. Pure magic. Anyway – the thing with being shown something we’re not ready for is that we tend to bury it, like a forgotten seed that keeps growing while we’re not looking until one day we can no longer ignore the giant tree of truth that has taken root in our heart. More & more I believe that land ownership is what causes nationalism, and perhaps I’ve begun to think both are a terrible idea.
But this tiny unsure boat of thought is adrift on a giant rolling ocean & I have lost my sea legs. I feel deeply disoriented & unsure about this & still swing wildly between these two polar ideas of belonging to a specific place, & no place. When this happens I am learning to reach for my tribe, no matter how small, or disparate. I sit with Andy & the hounds, call my daughter & grandson; walk with the beech trees here in Slovenia, drink dandelion tea; write poems to the stars.