September 2021 to March 2022 (Elders Weaving in the Woods – Samhain to Equinox)
We were back at the Pear Tree – strong winds, cold and wet. How lucky we are to have this option, and we were so glad of this safe space watching slanting sleet out of the window, and thinking of events in Ukraine.
That night, Russia invaded Ukraine, and we arrived in our safe space with this news over radios, of this troubled land at once far away and close by. We spoke about our feelings about this in our circle: the not knowing; far reaching; terrified how it will escalate; fear for families on the run; it has been allowed; unknown, I don’t understand; disheartening; now turned off Radio 4 to 3; I cannot change it; it is out of my control. And Berti advised us not to be over run by it.
Virginia bought it her macramé set and she and Mary set to making a string basket for a potential moss ball. It was a perfect day for working the loom in the sunlight corner. It was a perfect space on a table with crayons for catching up with the journal. It was a perfect space for looking at Fern moss and drawing its fern strands, and looking closely.
From the huge we went to the small and we looked at Moss.
The joy of smallness: Small because unlike plants and trees they lack any support structure – no vascular system – and have no roots to anchor. So they spread along the surface of the layer they inhabit, usuall close to ground, and called the Boundary layer, the layer between earth and air. They can fit into all sorts of small spaces impossible for other plants: like in between pavements or rocks.
They came from water: During the Davonian era, the most primitive land plants emerged from the water to live on the land – these pioneers were the mosses. The amphibians of the plant world. Half way between algae and land plants. They must return to water to breed.
Water dependent and live without water. They gather moisture in their structure, and thrive on it. But they have a remarkable ability to go into suspended animation and survive for years ‘dried up’ but when moisture added they return to life. Called desiccation, living without water. (Like a tardigrade, which happens to live in moss).
Virginia came with research, and gave us moss names, such as Swan’s-neck thyme-moss (Mnium hornum) Elegant and damp and one of our most common mosses.
In the sunshine corner Kally and friends wove moss into our tapestry.
Moss and us as enabling
We spoke about how Moss was a pioneer, an enabler of other life to exist and asked how we were enablers, and what it also enabled us to do or be. Many mentioned plants, how they enabled them to grow by nurturing, and the pleasure they gave in return. How children, who we enable to grow, give us joy. Developing strong foundations in a grandson, growing new life through gardening, bringing life back to the land with wild flower seed sowing, letting moss take over my lawn, dogs bringing joy and walks. Kally spoke about how her gift to the Ravinginham Sculpture trail gave her great joy of awakening her creative energy. Lesley said she came here as a volunteer to enable this project, but to her surprise she feels enabled herself with the joy she receives from it. Armoral spoke about the pleasure of saving from death a lemon tree which now provides lemons for her G&T!
Here is Robin Wall Kimmerer talking about her Moss
Here is the link to Ravingham Sculpture trail, where you will see Kally’s magic.
Here’s a link to my blog about moss
We look forward to welcoming you back to the Woods next week.
For some reason at the end Berti began singing Old Man River, and we all joined in, with Virginia finding us the words.
Sept 30 – Introductions
Oct 7 – Weaving and Dyeing
Oct 14 – Dyeing and conkers
Oct 21 – Dyeing and drawing
Oct 31 Samhain Sunday
Nov 4 Leaf letting go
Nov 11 EARTH
Nov 18 AIR
Nov 25 WATER
Dec 2 FIRE
Dec 9 WOOD (crafting
Dec 16 (Solstice)
Jan 6 Stories – story of an object
Jan 13 Stories – His-Herstory
Jan 20 Stories – Tree Stories
Jan 27 Stories – More Tree Stores
Feb 3 Stories – Pear Tree gathering
Feb 10 Stories – Words with Dean
Feb 17 Stories – Wind and Patrick Stead
Mar 7 (Equinox)
GET IN TOUCH
Shona, Kally and Rachel are keen for you to get in touch with us.
Supported and sponsored by:
COVID-19 Engaged Communities Fund (Suffolk CC)