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I´ve never tried anything like this before. I can’t believe it.
I`VE BEEN GIVEN A PLACE TO BE QUIET!!
Couple of month ago one of the revolutionaries asked me about going into the wild as an exit strategy. With all what the world has come to, the culture, the craziness. Evil, evil empire.
Does it help? Is it it possible?
Made me think about these last five years, what it has done to us, how we have changed. Walked around myself for a couple of days, trying to be intellectual in my answer, trying to be progressive but this place… man, this place… it made me realize the goodness of fairytales.
This is how it is:
We went into the wild, we did, we did.
Threw out all of our belongings, quit the job, took the children out of school. We wanted to be tribe. We wanted to peel off every illusion until we could see and touch TRUTH.
We wanted to be good, strong, free human beings (with a right to live a life that makes sense) instead of the wrecks we had become.
We wanted to find out what it BASICALLY means to be a human being (fire, water, food, shelter)
So we ran. And we settled. We built a tarpaulin tepee and began taking down trees to build our own log cabin. The children quickly changed. Taking on responsibility. Every night we would sit around the fire and talk. I didn’t know them. Such a heartbreak to realize. Such hard work to heal.
Then came this. Then came that. The war I’ve been mentioning is real.
Every young man or woman can run into the wild, I don’t see the problem, but being a family (especially from a scandinavian culture) makes everything much more complicated – because of the children.
And so the deep dark woods paralysed me. In shock. In despair. In need.
We lived on a stone for ages. Centuries went by.
The dark creatures of the wood crawled into my mind.
That’s when I became “rewilded”
Becoming rewilded means having your human shield destroyed.
I couldn´t find happiness anywhere. I turned all of the stones. I climbed all of the mountains until finally I just sat down on that rock, I gave up, I sat still. Completely still.
Seasons changed around me, I became one with my surroundings…
… that´s why the dragon didn’t see me when it came through the forest. I followed it. I found it´s cave in the mountain.
Red eyes. Heavy breath.
I killed the dragon.
I slayed the dragon.
I found the treasure it had been guarding.
I ate the heart and then I could suddenly hear all of the birds sing.
Then I was guided to this place, a milder place, I was given a house and a barn and hazelnuts. Hills of rowan, piles of blackberry, endless heaps of chanterelle.
I was given peace (I fought for it)
I was given quiet (I called out for it)
I was given riches (I took it, I created it, I made it happen, me, myself)
Life is so weird…
I don´t need to become a product, I don´t need to become a brand. There is peace here. Deep, deep peace. I can do whatever I want.
For a while I didn’t even want to be an author anymore, it would suit me fine, I think, to just be the hunter and the gather that I have become.
Every day I emerge myself into the trees. Every day I bathe in the forest.
Too complicated to deal with the culture (my advice to the revolutionary then was: go under the radar, don’t try and influence mainstream (it will kill you), don´t do it for the money, don’t do it for the ideology )
Running into the wild is not an exit strategy – it is a rite de passage, it is an initiation.
(took me FIVE YEARS, paralysed, in shock, sitting on a stone- can’t be done on a weekend hike).
So do I think you should do it?
If you’re ready. If you want to.
I think it makes you stronger. I think it makes you prouder and I think it will make you a better warrior.
I wouldn’t have found happiness if I hadn’t gone into the dark forest… where the wild things are. Wouldn’t have found peace if I hadn´t slayed the dragon.
I am eternally grateful and forever a defender of the forest. It made me who I am… and finally, who I am… is ok.
In old norse mythology gold is metaphor for “spirit”.
The treasure I found, the gold I am wearing… in the depths of the dark I found my light.
I´ve never tried anything like this before. I can’t believe it.
I don’t know what to do with myself quite yet, maybe I´ll just be a fat farmwife, maybe I´ll shut the fuck up forever but I don’t think so.
This place radiates fairytales. This place is alive, it whispers to me, the land and me are aligned. Finally! It happened!
Allow me to be a bit too much:
and my sword is mighty! and my sword is made of gold! and I will never give up!
(better to die fighting)
After we got here I´ve seen deer, wild boar, fox, (shadow of) elk, lots of squirrels and lots of monogamous birds.
The wildlife is so rich and the forest so plentiful that I swear to gods and I cry; thank you for this bounty.
Crawling through the underwood, sometimes on two legs, sometimes on four, mosquito buzzing around my head, ant biting my wrist, blood red hands from the wild blueberry, I am swollen with gratitude.
Alive. Breathing. Animal self (I know what that means now).
They came to our cabin to take down all of the trees around us, with their machines and their hard eyes but there’s more to it, of course, some of it I can’t share with you because of the kids (there’s a gender issue hiding somewhere here)
War has been ravaging the lands for many years, truth is; you can’t run from it. One day war will knock on your door and even if you don’t want to fight you may need to. Afterwards you may bleed.
Another truth: community is hard, roles can stick to you like big black snails.
Didn’t make it easier that we had positioned ourselves, been so open, blogged, invited so many strangers into our home.
Enough of all that.
The move came and had been underway for a long time.
Flexibility has become a key factor in our life since we moved into the wild- we’ve had to adapt. Constantly.
Adaptation means breaking down your own emotional walls, it also means being able and willing to change, not only inner circumstances but outer as well. Constantly.
(remember those last loaded posts; that was the sound of me breaking, that was my armour finally, finally crumbling. Not a pretty process. Needed to be done)
Five years ago we arrived with all of our high hopes and belongings to a small river valley in Varmland, Sweden. We settled under a tarpaulin tepee and began the hard work: to build our own log cabin, to rewild ourselves, to become whole as a (broken) family, to learn, to live good and prosper.
Winter came and our log cabin wasn´t finished which was the first of many failures and defeats to come. Next year we relocated (cold seeps downwards, don’t settle in a river valley) and began constructing yet another log cabin (there was a hand dug well and the soil had been cultivated a hundred years ago= less rocks, better soil)
Growing food, tending to animals, being a family of six people, living on a construction site- the first many years were very hard but we got the second log cabin built and moved in. That first night in that log cabin, that victory… will stay with me forever.
Then I got sick. My body collapsed. I was sick for a whole year, slave bound to my bed almost all of the time. High on morphine.
Then the older kids moved away from home, out in the world to live free and prosper, to get their educations, to drink beer with friends, to manifest themselves as individuals in the world.
I´ve been a mother since I was 19. We had finally succeeded in becoming a flock, we had finally achieved what we wanted… two seconds before they moved away from home (childhood has a deadline, it’s the coldest truth of them all)
Then came the war and we were under vicious attack (you´re not paranoid if you’re being followed), had to cover all of our flanks, realizing how vulnerable we are, one is, as soon as one does something DIFFERENT. What is life and logic to you might be used against you when the enemy takes you to court.
I told you I was a viking warrior.
I’ll do what needs to be done.
Raven banner, wild howl, glistening sword and I win, I always do, don´t I?
When running into the wild you can’t expect to live as a tree hugging hippie all of the time, sometimes you need the kill to survive. War paint. Chest bump. Maybe you won’t need to fight as hard as we did – we had the whole “public opinion” to deal with too. Plus our apparantly annoying personalities. Plus enemies (there might be a gender issue hiding somewhere here)
No matter what but especially in the Scandinavian countries though- you’ll need to fight for your right to leave…. the status quo, the perceived sense of community.
It´s an element of the experience that needs to be addressed when talking about living differently, rewilding our souls, I´ve said it a hundred times already: it’s not pretty.
It’s so devastating.
I´ll let it go.
I´ll let it go now.
The other day we were watching a tv series (on the computer, hard disk full of survival/bushcraft series) (most of the kids are home right now). Afterwards we began talking about how much of the things from the shows we already knew. We knew about the plants and the herbs and the trackings and the survival. Such a relief. It’s been five years- but it was only yesterday I fully realized how much we know, how much we’ve learned. “We´d last a lot longer than those people”, “I´d like to go full survival again” said the kids who are no longer kids.
One of the hardest things about living in the wild has not been nature though it´s been other people. Community. Relations. Me, blogging, being in the media, meant that we got a lot more or less invited guests. People settled in the woods around us. You become trapped in your own ideology, you become trapped in your own story.
Shake it off.
Shake it off.
Living in the wild means being able to ADAPT.
Imposed continuity and demands for you being able to explain and defend every little detail and choice in your life (ask yourself: can you answer all of the question you’d ask me?)- meant that I had created these very stern images and stories, I had to, explanations, justifications but this is who I am:
“Do I contradict myself?
Then I contradict myself.
I am large. I contain multitudes”
(this is another element of alternative lifestyles that I think needs to be addressed; it is demanded of us that we create these bulletproof storylines and brands. Brands don’t change or contradict themselves)
(also I don’t want to be a brand)
(which is difficult because I need the money)
(which means that I´ll need to not need the money)
(which I do) (freedom is achieved through lowering your living standards)
One day, up in Varmland, he said: “I have noticed how hard it is for you to be the one hunting for money. Let me hunt for money for a couple of years, then you can be the one building house and foraging”
In order for him to hunt for money we need to be a little bit closer to where the game is.
That´s one the reasons.
Another reason is the children. Closer to them, with all of their educations and wild travellings around the world. Also: break the story, shake the tree. If we are to be the movement of resistance (and we are) we need to regroup and reconsider our methods (and we do).
Truth: the wild is not wild anymore, they’re growing the trees just like they grow barley, it´s not a forest, it´s a field. Realize the scope of this. Wild hardly exists anymore.
Closer to the motherland and closer to people they don´t take down the trees, the forests are privately owned and not used commercially, the trees are old here, in my garden there’s a willow and I think it´s five hundred years old. The biodiversity is greater here, absurdly enough. Beech, hazel, oak, elderberry, aspen. I forage, never had a pantry this stocked before, and we’ve not even been gardening this season.
We’ve rented a small farmhouse from the 1800 hundreds, there’s a barn and a boat and many acres of woodland all to ourselves. Deer. Wild boar. Foxes. Apples. Hazelnuts. Berries in almost obscene amounts. A bit warmer winters. A bit longer summers. Self Sufficiency will be so much easier here.
I sit and I look at the black lake for hours a day. I try to make sense of the last five years. I try to make sense of the now. Try to make sense of the change.
I am no longer the same person as I were five years ago. Deep down I think that’s what I wanted the most.
I wanted to change.
Also I found happiness. Shivering atoms. I’m as free as I ever will be.
And she was my totem animal.
And now everything has changed.
Back in those days I lived by the grand forests west of Copenhagen, some of the last woods standing in the country they farmed to death.
I remember the thoussand-year-old- oak. Folklore had it healing folks, it´s just that there wern´t really any folks around anymore, they´d all gone to the city. You´d imagine a thoussand-year-old-oak to be royal of sorts but this one was hidden among the younger trees, almost invisible. The ruffled leaves. The deep imprints in the bark. The twisted branches.
I used to be a different person back then. Wearing heals, trying to get somewhere.
During the nights I would walk into those woods, timid, afraid, all alone with my solitude and my death, with my fears, I would take it there.
The children would be sound asleep and I would tread lightly in the woods.
Sometimes I would run. Just run.
Sometimes I would sit still below the treetops in the dark, there used to be a certain beech, and I would simply breathe.
My secret self remember the trees in those woods very well, me, myself, I only remember in glimpses.
There was a lot of deer in that forest.
I would often experience their damp bodies between the treetrunks, their quiet breath, brown eyes, they scare easily, they run fast, can´t be captured, gone.
They´d stand still and stare at me until my soul would melt together with the animal soul, it happened.
I have identified with deer for the longest time.
I have felt a certain kind of bond.
I have been prey on purpose.
And now the wild hunt is over.
Out on the main road, driving fast in the fog.
A certain kind of bond to fog too.
I feel at home in it.
Driving around in unknown territory. Closer to the motherland. Oaks. Beeches. Elders. Ashs.
We´re aiming for an undisclosed location.
A new friend is sitting by my side and as I pierce through the fog I tell her the things I don´t talk about.
“It kind of sounds like you have ptsd” she says.
I know I do, it´s not a secret it´s only un-said.
Deer jumps out of the dark.Fixated in the headlamps I see her damp body, my eyes meet her brown eyes.
“Goodbye” she says.
I can´t believe she did that.
She did that.
She said “it´s allright now let it go”
We´re going somewhere with no internet connection.
“Hi Andrea, I feel like writing you. I read your notice of resignation as columnist, blogger ect- and although I have written you before I still feel like I should … Continue reading Keeping it real