I have another small dish to add to the "Mother Tongue" Moveable Feast (on land, language, art, and storytelling). In this short excerpt from A Branch from the Lightning Tree: Ecstatic Myth and the Grace in Wilderness, Martin Shaw discusses the four years he spent living outside on a mountain in Wales:
"With zero practical experience of living outside, I made endless mistakes....Gary Snyder I was not. Axes were blunt, jeans constantly caught on barbed wire fences, snares empty.
"Dreams came nightly like rowdy bears crashing into days where I struggled to cope with hand tools, tried to light wet wood, shivered between continual extremes of hot and cold. I was a righteous mess with no apparent skills. Somewhere in this process, the threads between the human community and where I found myself grew thin. I couldn't find the vocabulary to articulate the changes I was experiencing. I felt intensely vulnerable and very lonely. What I looked for was some archaic language that would expand words and frame images so beautifully that I felt connected to human folk as well as kestrals and mud. What I found was myth.
"Myth is promiscuous, not dogmatic. It moves like a lively river through swarthy packs of reindeer, great aristocratic families, and the wild gestures of an Iranian carpet seller. Myth is not much to do with the past, but a kind of magical present that can flood our lives when the conditions are just so. It is not just the neurosis of us humans trying to fathom our place on earth, but sometimes the earth actually speaking back to us. That's why some stories can be hard to approach, they are not necessarily formed from a human point of view."