Listening to the new song

The soundscape of the valley has changed.

Gone are the ardent cries of mating and staking of territory.

It’s a gentler exchange.

One between parents and offspring.

The bonding of relationship and the affirmation of identity.

Sure, when threatened, the alarm cry echoes across the valley. And the little ones on the lake go scudding for cover.

Yet it returns to rest once the danger is over.

And then we start to hear the little voices. The peepers with limited vocal range who will become the new songsters.

But will we be quiet enough to hear or pause long enough to notice?

I hope so…

Because this is the new generation, those who will shape the song of the world if we relinquish our territorial rights and our assertions of heroic leadership.

And they need our wisdom and nurture.

Our hope, our courage and our perseverance.

Yet most of all, they need us to see and hear them for who they are. Not ‘mini-me’s’, but distinctive and beautiful beings who are becoming the change they want to see.

I take heart in Gideon Heugh’s powerful poem for his new daughter:


You are a wild and gleeful thing,
nudged by lavish grace
towards all the astonishment,
and nothing can stop it
or you.

You are not a mistake.
The earth aches for your singular life,
for the miracle radiance
of purely, specifically

The shakings and the dark noises
of a man-made world
cannot compete with your hallelujah blood,
your hosanna spirit,
of with the gentle fury of hope.

+ Gideon Heugh, from Devastating Beauty, 2018

Pause. See differently. Re-story 🌿

This week

For the last two weeks, I have been experimenting with effectively preparing dirty alpaca fleece to create innovative and regenerative textiles. Given my limited equipment, this has involved much hard work and patience. While I have not had much headspace for other things, I have enjoyed being so hands-on with each fleece, appreciating the distinctive beauty of the fibre and the individual animals who have produced them. Each is so different, yet each clearly expresses the individual named alpaca. Touching their stories with my fingers: the privilege of co-creating beauty.

Pause. See differently. Re-story 🌿

It all starts with creating space. After all, if we are hurtling down the train track, there isn’t much hope of becoming anything other than a machine running on someone else’s rails. Yet we need something more. We need to become the change that we want to see. And that means taking seriously our need to create space.

So I was hugely inspired by watching the beautiful video of Vanessa Kelly telling her story at CreativeMornings/NYC in April. I wanted to share it with you because I know it will touch you deeply, even if your own experience is different to hers:

“I found vast spaces to hold all of me — the hidden, the hurt, the false, and the true — a place where my fractured selves became fused.”

Find it on YouTube: Vanessa Kelly on Disability and Creativity.