She woke to the sound of her mother’s call. The call of Mother Earth embodied in the crowing rooster greeting the sun’s rising. And in those moments caught between dream and wakening – that in between land- she glimpsed another way of being.
Sitting up she could smell the distinct aroma of coffee brewing, but more clear was the smell of the dusty earth being bathed in drops of rain. The drought had broken and the land was thirstily drinking all the sky was offering.
Instantly it made her think of all the things that needed doing. All the many chores that awaited. Enough to drown the day in endless toil. And that made her feel weary to her bones. Because she knew deep down that days filled with the menial work of cleaning, washing, cooking and then more cleaning were not what she was here for. Her true purpose in life lay unfulfilled.
So she stood up and giving the room one last long look walked out, and kept walking down the road slick with rain, past the houses of her village and past the fields of crops. She walked and walked, drenched in rain and lit by the rising sun.
That was the day that she began a new life guided by Mother Earth’s rhythms.
This short story was written many months ago during a writing exercise where we were given seven sentence starters and a few minutes to write something for each prompt. It had been a long time since I had done creative writing and so I was amazed at how easily a story emerged in a short space of time (and at 2am at that!). I’ve repeated the exercise with a few friends and even those who, like me, thought they have no creative writing skills found that they could all produce something interesting and enjoyed doing so.
To create something ourselves instead of having being passive recipients of pre-packaged entertainment is something Westerners rarely do anymore. It seems that the ability to entertain ourselves is another skill that has atrophied with the onset of cheap books, television and professional entertainers. In the past communities mostly relied on their creativity for entertainment making up their own stories, music and games. Now we mostly pay to watch other people do these things. There is nothing wrong with listening to a really talented musician or watching a well-crafted movie, but being creative is part of what makes us human. Self-directed play and creativity helps us engage all our abilities (physical and mental), explore our capabilities and to be present in the moment in a way that is not possible when sitting passively and observing something.
Additionally making our own art means that we are not just being exposed to the narratives that others decide is worth being told. Its gives us the control to create songs, stories and games that reflect and shape our values and culture.
Finally I choose to share this story now, as I am about to embark on 6 months of travel and exploration around the world of how to live in accordance with the Earth’s rhythms. Thank you for reading my musings so far. I aim to keep writing about the different ways of living on this earth that I encounter whilst on the road. Hope you will continue the journey with me.
A second round of the writing course facilitated by Bayo Akomalafe I participated in will being this March. I highly reccomend it for anyone wanting to explore how writing serves to bring about a more socially just and ecologically sound way of life. See We Will Dance with Mountains: Writing as and Ally for Emergence for more details.
Photo credit: Andrew Kudrin (CC-by-NC-2.0)