As I stare beyond my laptop and out of my glass door, the morning light softly hugs the leaves. I notice how the trees have surged upwards. They are great spigots of chlorophyll, mysteriously pushed on by that magic we call life. Upward. Outward. Striving to reach beyond.
Growth. It’s the ambition of existence.
Through the mud frame of my window, all is moving outward. Every twig is now a rash of green flourishes. Every trunk thicker and rougher than before. Even my Mediterranean oak is no longer the scraggy shrub it was when I arrived. I’ve Celal to thank for that.
“Aye if you cut all the limbs back at the ground, and leave juss one, it’ll grow into a tree. Juss like that one over there in Dudu’s land.”
I’d stared at Dudu’s oak in bewilderment that day. I couldn’t see how the mess of brambles before me could ever evolve into that. But it has. Or at least, it’s well on the way. Growing. Ever higher.
Everything in nature grows. We humans have observed this pattern and created our own systems to mirror it; economic, personal, vocational. Unfortunately something was lost in translation. We have understood growth as ‘bigness’, and ‘more’. Thus we join the modern accumulation race. A race we never win.
Growth isn’t just a larger, more numerous repetition of the same thing. No. That’s not how nature does things. For Gaia, growth doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with size or quantity (though a careless glance might misconstrue it that way). Growth can be reproduction. But it can also be adaptation. Or integration. Or evolution. It can be increased complexity, depth and sensitivity too. In the case of metamorphosis, growth is the manifestation of an entirely different creature.
Growth is when an organism stretches beyond the boundaries of what it is, into what it will become. And that space beyond is sacred. Because it’s an unknown. It’s not ‘more’ nature yearns for. Nor bigger. But for beyond.
Which brings me to the subject of this blog. And this website.
“I will miss Mud Mountain blog, and the anticipation of seeing you overcoming all the challenges of your life there.”
My inbox has been busy since my last post.
And slowly it dawns on me. Many think The Mud website is winding down, readying itself for death. This is a little disconcerting. Because The Mud online is not slowing down. Not at all.
It may appear that the cyber element of The Mud is no more than a transparent canvas upon which my Mud world is painted. But it’s not. The website is alive. Just like the trees and the plants. Since 2012 it has grown organically. Changed course here and there. Today it claims nearly 7000 subscribers. I must admit, for someone who didn’t know what a PDF file was five years ago, I’ve become a little enthralled with the internet. It possesses its own kind of magic. Its own kind of growth.
The Mud website is an ephemeral boundary between my mud home here in Turkey and the outside world. It’s a meeting point. The place where the beyond can tap on my window, drop hints and whisper. As time goes by the flow rate between out there and in here increases. When that happens growth is inevitable.
The Mud cannot end, because my fascination with dirt, and earth and building hasn’t ended. My first earthbag building course is on the horizon, and will be detailed in the coming weeks. There are already a number of exciting developments in the virtual pipeline, so stay tuned for those. And if you’d like a say in how The Mud website evolves, then please fill in the survey.
So you see, I may be embarking on a new branch of a my journey, but it’s still a very muddy one. Wherever I go, I’ll be searching for my next Mud Mountain, for my spot of Gaia. I’ll be feeling each space and letting it inspire me, speak to me. Then hopefully, if it allows me to translate, I’ll relay what it says.
Meanwhile www.themudhome.com is growing. It’s no longer about one woman in one mud home on a hill, but about a world of Mudsters. It’s about you as much as about me. Just like my Mediterranean oak, before it was a straggly shrub, and now it’s a tree. It hasn’t simply colonised more space. It’s not really the same plant. Its roots are deeper. Its foliage is fuller. It’s moved beyond.
If you want to read another critique on the failed economic lunge after 'bigness', Paul Kingsnorth's article is well worth a read.
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Atulya K Bingham
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