Hymn to the Mother (Mountain)
I’ve been getting nudges that I need to connect a bit more with Earth, so last night I made an effort to find that connection. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t have a “place” to go. I tried calling up somewhere that said earth to me, but all I have is water and wood, maybe a little fire. Even when I ground, it’s more about experiencing that feeling as a tree; as wood.
Finally I settled on tapping into my memories of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Still, the predominant sensations were of warm, (blindingly) bright sun and blue skies, impeccably kept grass and the full spectrum of botanical colours, scents and textures. Bird song; grasshoppers; leaves rustling – not the deep, heavy, dark depths of earth. And then…
Of course. Good gods. Of course.
How do I explain Table Mountain? It isn’t especially high. It isn’t especially large. It does have an unusually flat top – hence the name – which will sometimes be covered with a “table cloth” of clouds and it can be seen from most parts of Cape Town and the surrounding areas. I would say she dominates the landscape, but not in an obtrusive manner; she stands more like the very essence, life force, spirit, of that place. She presides. And she is commonly referred to as “the Mother Mountain” by all the trippy-dippy folks (and she attracts a lot of them…) that inhabit her demesne.
The thing is, you have to feel it to believe it.
I’ve been around some impressive chunks of rock (on a clear day, I can see the Rockies from here; on a not-clear day, drive 15 minutes), but I’ve never felt the same presence as I do when near Table Mountain. She has a palpable weight that presses down, almost forcing you to your knees. Again, it’s not a feeling of dominance, just sheer presence. When you look to the top of Table Mountain, it is dizzying, unbalancing, though it is hardly high enough to inspire that level of vertigo. Maybe that’s why the land surrounding her is so beautiful, so fertile, so wondrous – that mountain is a powerful guardian.
I only fully grasped this sensation the last time I was in SA (a year ago… sigh.)
So that’s where I went for Earth.
And to my surprise, I started speaking to her in Dutch*. Perfectly accented, grammatically correct Dutch, with big words and everything. All in my head of course, but still. The words flowed unbidden in, not so much a prayer or a song of praise, but a kind of hymn. Part of me stood back from it, stunned and disbelieving, but I was in that zone where These Things Happen (I had no recollection of this until I was walking to work this morning and a song reminded me). When I was done, I did not feel more in touch with Earth, but I did feel quite spent, in a peaceful way.
Just another Sunday night, I guess.
* My mother’s side of the family is Dutch; not trickle-down from the settlers – all born in Holland. I grew up hearing my mom speak Dutch to her parents, and my grandparents spoke a mixture of Dutch and English to my brother and I, but we never learned to speak Dutch. And I certainly never heard the five dollar words that I was “speaking” last night. Amazing what the brain can do.