Sunday, 3 October 2010

Hearth and heartland

It poured with rain most of the day, puddling in the gravel courtyard, and it all felt very autumnal. Today was a day for staying indoors by the roaring fire. We are still burning the wood saved when the old Mucknell farm house was demolished to make way for the new community building. I've had no experience of laying fires, not having been a girl guide. In my first attempt, I discovered that the Church Times doesn't burn at all well, but the Independent is much more inflammatory.

However, there were a couple of interesting articles in this Friday's Church Times. Matthew Oates writes about how poetic language, such as the idea of 'heartland', is vital for understanding ourselves, our spirituality, our relationship with nature and our environment, and with the Almighty (you may need a subscription to view). He wants to discover a meaning for heartland that is similar to Welsh cynefin or Scots Gaelic duthchas. He writes: "The concept of cynefin ... is central to Welsh language and culture, though it has no straightforward translation. It is a spiritual and poetic idea concerning relationship with a place of true belonging, expressed primarily through the Welsh language." This reminds me of my own vision for Mucknell; Jonathan Bate writes in "The Song of the Earth" about eco-poetry, or oiko-poesis, literally making a dwelling, or using poetry and other arts to create a belonging and a relationship with place.

Then there was an article about churches which have signed up to the 10:10 campaign, which commits them to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% in 2010. A full two-page spread, which was good in its way, but there was not one mention of the Church of England's Shrinking the Footprint campaign. Not very joined up.

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