I wanted to spend at least a little time seeing beyond the four walls of the gallery where I was busy hanging my outland exhibition. My visit to the distant lands of Cornwall had so far been a success yet I felt a need for more as the second day dawned dew heavy and mist shrouded outside my tent near the tiny hamlet of Altarnun.
Barrow, circle and mound
Having woke at first light I determined to see what treasures the spirit of place help and set off chasing the light along the narrow be-hedged lanes of this virgin landscape. The oldness of the place had seeped into my bones as I slept and, following my nose, I ventured to an area that, on the map at least, looked interesting.
Mention of barrow, circle and mound never fails to draw me in and following these breadcrumbs I found my way to an old mine-head in the middle of Bodmin Moor. ‘Minions’ said the sign, a word which meant nothing to me.
Dartmoor ponies peered through the rising mist as I walked barefoot through the coarse grasses, mindful of the myriad tiny gorse plants that awaited my tender toes! Spider webs hung out to dry from every shrub and post, spangled silken nets rendered visible by dewy jewel drops. I walked with no aim other than to say hello and to draw in what I needed for the long day ahead.
Three stone circles were not at all what I expected. Looming out of the mists of some long past era the stones stood dark and lonely in this foreign landscape. Calling to mind my deep ancestral connection with my homeland of Anglezarke I approached the circles as a visitor, tentatively feeling my way as the energies welcomed my steady advance.
Recalling the words of Martin Shaw I was very aware that this wasn’t my place, this wasn’t my land. If my lifetime on Anglezarke is but a breath on the wind then my dance with the Minions was a tiny gasp in time. Yet as I sat with a stone at my back I felt held. I felt known and witnessed by the spirit of the place.
Fingers spread out on the ground I closed my eyes and felt the power of this place reach its tendrils up to touch me. I knew that, given time the spirit of this piece of Bodmin would claim me, that I would know it’s name and would be able to find home here.
However I would never be more than a visitor. I was from the north and the north will forever have me. The land gave me photos as memories and I share these here now. I share these especially with those who feel displaced, lost, ousted or homeless.
Put down your fingers, dig your toes into the land under your feet and let the land have it’s way with you. It takes time yes, but don’t all relationships worthy of treasuring.
Sit with your trees, tread your beaches, know the corners of the meadows, explore where the bats sleep, discover where your healing herbs grow and one day you will feel that heart connection through the soles of your feet that sings the song of the land’s claim on you.