Moving from the cradle of the Downs to the shifting sands of the seaside is proving to be a huge culture-shock for me. Although the distance I’ve actually moved is only a matter of about two miles, the difference in landscape and environment has left me feeling entirely uprooted.
My roots are in the belly of the earth: in the chalk and flint, the soil and streams, the grass and flowers, the oak beams exhaling their memories of ancient times; in the song of the blackbird and the robin, the colours of the finch and magpie, the flash of the dragonfly and butterfly…
All the stories I know – whether folk tales, fairy tales or mythologies – speak to me of woods and forests, mountains and glens. My psyche is infused with greens and browns and musty, dank, leaf-litter smells.
I loved the beach too, and would walk there often. But nothing in my experience so far has prepared me for actually living here. I have been uprooted and exposed: dangling in the open air from the second floor flat where I now live; finding nothing to cling to in the shifting sands and rolling tides of the sea below.
So this morning I started making a list of the kinds of stories I need to discover now, which will help me to settle into this strange and alien landscape and to begin to lay down roots in this wild and windswept culture.
Here’s a few things I think might help:
* Sea Shanties – to connect me to the ancient bones of seaside life
* The story of Sedna – to ground me in the mythology of the seascape
* Local fishy-folk tales – to give me a sense of the place and people I now live amongst
Seeking first the comfort of the familiar, I turned to read the story Parsley-Girl. And Bam! There it was.
The realisation that my True Roots lie in The One who is always with me, no matter where I am or where I go. There is nowhere I can be that is not rooted in that Eternal Rock of Love. With my foundations in Christ, I can never be lost or alone. Wherever I am, I am Home.
“Be strong and of good courage,
do not fear nor be afraid of them;
for The Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you.
He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6.