Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love and Olive Oil in the South of France by Carol Drinkwater – Susan’s Newsletter Oct. 2015

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Susan's Thursday Morning Note October 8, 2015 
Australian Aboriginal “Walk-About” and Quotes on Nature
Singing a place back into existence - love of nature.

Good morning!  It’s a little disconcerting writing this morning as two alert cats are poised staring at the base of the couch.  Last night going to bed they were vigilantly on watch at the bookcase.  24 hours ago a little mouse entered our domain, sending me onto the kitchen counter in tears.  I think we know where the little one is now…scared to death and hoping for redemption.  I don’t have the mental strength yet to try to help him escape, so will leave the cats to their vigilante watch as I type!  I am just in the midst of reading The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love and Olive Oil in the South of France by Carol Drinkwater.  We found out about this book by researching characters on a DVD series All Creatures Great and Small of a veterinarian practice located in England.  Carol plays the wife of James Herriott, the main character in the book and DVD series.  This book was written as a memoir of her purchase and “giving rebirth” to a small olive vineyard and home in southern France.  I was enamored by her analogy to bring her old “new” home back to life with a comparison to Australian’s aboriginal walkabout – where there is continual life given to creation generation after generation as aboriginals “sing their environments back into existence.”  Following is her description of turning her property back into a vibrant home.

is slowly coming back to life.  After neglect, the house is waking up.  Its essence is reemerging.  Shapes, colors, aspects of light are speaking to us…It is widely known that the Australian aboriginals go walkabout, but what I did not know until I crossed the world to work there was that one of the purposes of their walkabouts is to sing nature back into existence.  I find that such an enchanting image.  To walk a land every so often and sing the mountains, the rivers, streams, caves, animals, insects, nature in all its diverse magnificence, back into existence.  I equate that image with what we are attempting to achieve here.  It – sorry, but I see the house as she, was rented out for many years.  Bills were unpaid, the fabric of the building has been left to ruin, its fruits have dropped from the trees and lie rotting.  The plants, every bush and shrub, are being strangled.  The house has lost its voice.  Or rather, its voice has gone unheard.

In my understanding of the aboriginal walkabout – and I am not saying that this is the meaning of the image, it is merely my interpretation of it – nature and its every mountain, hill, waterfall, ant nest and pathway have a voice.  To stand at any moment in front of the miracle of any particle of nature and to listen, truly listen, is to hear its song.  To hear its song is to allow it to sing.  That is how I understand “singing a place back into existence.”

I have thought of that paragraph often the last two weeks.  Even in watching the miners coming out and seeing the desertland becoming a gathering place for prayers then singing…a remote location on our planet in the desert suddenly sung to, “given rebirth”…the sands walked on that hadn’t been covered in so long.  The moon speaking to that small location in Chile…”singing the desert back into existence.”  Can picture the scene just even entering a 5×5 “forest” by our road to get our football out….feeling I was looking upon grasses that hadn’t been observed.  Taking an extra moment to sing inwardly and tell the plants hi…singing them back into existence.  I love that line!  Here are a few more quotes and a poem on the beauty of our creation.  Not only on our giving life as we sing to gifts from God, but taking the gifts from Him and learning from observation.

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.  But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.  Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child  our own two eyes.  All is a miracle.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

“My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be through Earth’s loveliness.”  Michelangelo

“Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach me caring
as the mother who secures her young.
Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain.”
        Ute prayer

Fall.  The word in itself brings feeling.  Quiet.  Beauty.  Emptiness.  Possible loneliness.  Beautiful moon.  Bright stars.  Wispy clouds from airplanes bright at midnight.  Fall.  Grief for some knowing winter is coming for.  Energy breathing the crisp clean air for others.  Shorter days.  Home.  Solitude.  Family.  Prayer.  Rebirth.  We have been given the gift of today.  We will have a chance to write our epitaph tonight of how we use the moments today.  Regardless of our personal circumstances we are all given this day.  A gift.  Will our writing tonight be worth the print?  Will we make decisions that honor our Creator and ourselves?  One chance.  Let’s rise, being thankful for the moments.  Look into children’s eyes.  Sing inwardly to creation.  Time….moving so quickly.  We won’t get back today.  How will we use our moments?  Our choice.  Looking back and not making same mistakes, looking forward and setting goals, and making the moments at hand worthy of writing tonight.  Thank you for letting me type for you.  Thank you for all of your encouragement and business.  If you only knew what having the store means to us….more than you’ll ever know.  Have a great week – make your life better than any day you’ve lived in the past.  Susan


Latin for this week:
renascibilatas – a new birth, regeneration
canto, cantare – sing
est omnis terra gloria eius – the whole earth is full of His glory

Works Cited:
Drinkwater, Carol.  The Olive Farm:  A Memoir of Life, Love and Olive Oil in the South of France.  2001.  New York.  Penguin Putnam.