My Voice in Virtual Places

During these changing working conditions of moving into visual spaces to connect and share and create, I’ve been enjoying a lovely run of being a guest on a number of different podcasts, separate from The Earth Sea Love Podcast, connecting women of colour and nature.

As mentioned before, I was welcomed onto the Prompted By Nature Podcast with Helen Forester where we talked about working to get more black bodies out into nature with funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

Since the first one, I’ve gone on to be a guest with Yarrow Magdalena with Daydreaming Wolves, where I enjoyed the opportunity to share about my creative practice and sea swimming and not being able to foretell the future but being okay with that.

On Speak from the Body, a podcast on practical ways to reconnect with the body and nourish your soul, hosted by Avni Trivedi, I had the opportunity to speak at length about my creative practice, visual journalling and how it saved my life, 5 years ago now.

And the final one I’ll share with you today, as there are more to come, is from the countryside charity CPRE, Campaign to Protect Rural England. In this episode I’m a guest with Professor Jules Pretty from the University of Essex, where we discuss the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time in the countryside and nature.

A Seasoned Connection

The clouds are stretched across the blue sky. The light is bright and it’s a welcomed gift as we enter the month of October. And with the season changing, I make a renewed effort to get out each day and enjoy the outdoors more. This is my favourite of year as well as my birth month. And although things are still up in the air in relation to the coronavirus and BLM and a multitude of natural disasters around the world, there are still blessings to be experienced and be grateful for. One blessing being able to walk outside my front door and be greeted by nature every day, no matter what the weather.

With the leaves turning shades and the air becoming crisp and sharp, I’m going to take this opportunity to deepen my connection with nature, with others and more importantly myself.

Over on Instagram, I’ve accepted the invitation from a friend to take part in #aseasonedconnection for the month of October where we share our relationship with nature in images and words. There are no rules accept connecting with nature, ourselves and each other. You’re more than welcome to join. And enjoy the coming season.

Day 17 – Why did Victorian glass domes of stuffed birds make people happy?

behind the scenes

dusty corridors lead to musky back rooms

where cold vats of animal carcasses wait for a steady hand.

2 partridges, a blue jay, a cedar waxwing and a hummingbird

positioned amongst a tangle of blossoms,

wings ever spread, bodies ever ridge,

gathering around a nest,

the wild and exotic brought in close, perching in a domestic setting.

Species preserved through behaviours which made them extinct.

such a colourful display; the fashion for an object of art;

stuffed birds for our delight, for our ever expanding egos.

Day 11 – NaPoWriMo- Mount Cherry

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And here, we begin our ascent.
Please be careful of your footing.
There are loose chippings.
Look up. See how the sun graces
her face. Depending on the time
of the day or time of the month,
she may greet you with her broadest
smile, inviting. Other times, shadowed
and closed. You have been warned.

As we advance, observe the lumpy,
bumpy terrain, discoloured in places
with distinct dark spots. She was born
with these. And here, stop, examine
the outcrop revealing her core. Layer
upon layer of flesh: emotions
and intuition and wisdom. Years
of neglect has made this particular part
almost impassable. Look away if you have to.

And here, finally, we reach her peak.
Or should we say, peaks. Sagging
too far into the clouds. Inexcusable.
But, we are blessed to witness her
during the fleeting blossom season.
Enjoy the cherry clusters lining the path.
Careful as slippery when wet. And we
wouldn’t want you to loose your chance
to prod and poke and objectify this
rare and formidable mountain.

#WeHikeToHeal

Today I wake to an email from Kenya and Michelle @Outdoor Journal Tour (ODJT) and the phenomenal work they’re doing in getting black women outdoors. They inspire me to do more especially when they share the reasons why black women need to experience the healing qualities of nature.

What makes me sad and angry is that they, we, don’t get enough support in this endeavour. Some people choose to troll them, us, derail us instead of recognise what we are doing and our struggle. Some people choose to not see inequalities and injustices in our society because it simply doesn’t effect them.

From a recent post on Instagram, ODJT shared their experience of being trolled but also the outpouring of love and support they are receiving for their work. Being able to see this support and understanding and love is fuel to continue what we are doing. Some people will never understand, listen or accept the way society does divide us along so many lines including race, gender, sexuality, religion etc. But we have to still have hope that change is here and there is more to come. We cannot give up hope.

Broken Wing

Walking back from the woods, I find you, a couple of spruce pine cones, squashed, into shapes that reminds me of a broken wing; feathers bent back at an awkward angle, tawny like an eagle or an owl.

My breath catches at the thought of death and destruction, of an imaginary bird, landlocked without the aid of one wing.

My heart somersaults at such a striking thought that’s followed quickly upon by feelings of blame lying at our feet.

Listen

I forgot to share my recent creation featured on Nine Muses Poetry website because I was getting lost in the wilderness with the Black Women’s Leadership Program with the Earth Sea Love nature project. But now I’m back and got my head turned around and ready to share. Check it out below. Thanks.

One Poem by Sheree Mack
OCTOBER 20, 2019 ~ ANNEST GWILYM
Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Listen

… to the geese gathering
honking at all hours, they have arrived
to wait out the winter on these shores

Listen

… as they take to the clear sky
together, in formation, whining, squeaking,
as their wide wings caress the cool air

Continued on website here