My van is a tin ovum. A chilly vacuole in the cell of the land, devoid of hot water and insulation. There's a metallic creak as I open the hatch. A rattle and a shunt. I crack my way out of the shell and into the world, wondering if I’ve made a mistake. The town house was easy after all. Buttons to push. Electricity oozing out of sockets. Machines to do my bidding.
As I tread through the grass stalks, I’m smeared in their juice. My ankle. My toe. My calf. The air is both heavy and light with Gaia’s attar. I inhale it, muscles stretching to thrust me up the slope, dew-sodden and alive.
Morning sun strikes my forehead – an angel’s hand wiping my brow? I reach the summit of my world, and see the hazels in the woods are swinging. There’s a party happening in there. Small feathered things; wrens, thrushes, robins, blackbirds, larks, all twitter and chirp with a passion I’m not sure I’ve ever known. And yet I do know it. Because as the sound waves press into my ears, I become the drum of the land, shaken awake and in time.
The thought flutters quietly into my mind and settles upon a vacant branch: Is the party for me?
What is this bewitchment of the dirt? For it must be a spell. A spirit or djinn. Suddenly I am holding what I thought I’d lost. The magic. The oneness. The precious meaning. Comfort and convenience are one thing. Life is quite another.
The word Rune is derived from the root - run or runa meaning whisper or secret. In linguistic terms, runes are the symbolic letters of ancient Germanic alphabets, or even short Norse poems. Runes can be stones inscribed with magical symbols or 'spells too. Welcome to my runes. Are they symbols? Are they poems? Or are they spells? I'll leave it up to you.
Atulya K Bingham is an author, natural builder and lone off-gridder now lost in the hills of northern Spain.
"I consider myself a person who is connected to nature, somebody who respects the earth; this book has me walking through the world with all my senses opened." Emma Blas, editor Her Heart Poetry