277 total words    

1 minutes of reading

Photo Credit: Rocks at McClures Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California. © Frank Schulenburg / CC BY-SA 4.0

A dream is unfurling inside the ground. The earth that touches the soles of our walking feet is dreaming us into life. For much of our presence on Earth humans understood this: we knew ourselves to be starlight, freshwater streams, the miracle of our own hands.[1] Then we forgot. Lately, people are wayfinding to recover earth intimacy—to generate new, old ways of dwelling in the biosphere’s imagination.

One such spark-across-a-synapse rose from greater Point Reyes, a place of generative beauty in coastal north-central California. An idea for Earth-spirit-celebration lit up like the glow of dawn beyond Black Mountain (or “coyote’s knuckles”). This massif of ancient sea-floor basalt, rising in the compass-point-of-new-beginning, lent its name to Black Mountain Circle. The group called people together at the mountain’s foot.

Many accepted this invitation. We came to learn, to celebrate, and to inter-soul-nourish. Hundreds of us, from near and far, participated in multi-day councils convened nine times in eleven years. We explored stories and habitats, feasted on creativity and local food, opened our hearts, and wove our insights into a new ancient basket. Into this vessel we poured love and gratitude, grief and fury, our passion for the living Earth. Greater Point Reyes was the alchemist turning us toward home, a geography of hope.

We walked this geography, as well: on pilgrim hikes to the crest of Black Mountain; on silent water-walks in four seasons; on visits to marshes, farms, forests; on a workday to help restore a salmon stream. We bowed to the sacred in the land and to one another.

Waves of light now continue to spread from Black Mountain, illuminating our new, old pathways upon the dreaming Earth.

[1] In this lexicon the word “earth” names the underfoot matrix of soil, groundwater, rock, roots, mycelia, microbes. And “Earth” is the name of our planet: it is a proper noun just like the Roman-god names of other nearby planets. Both words are sacred, invoked with reverence.

  • Claire Peaslee

    Claire Peaslee is a teller of natural history who loves to facilitate immersive experiences for people outdoors. She contributes nature essays to the West Marin Review and Bay Nature Magazine and has appeared on public radio. Claire offers an experience of living in concert with the land called “Listening to Gaia.”

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