Gone to Earth


‘We are all as full of echoes as a rocky wood - echoes of the past, reflex echoes of the future, and echoes of the soil - these last reverberating through our filmiest dreams, like the sound of thunder in a blossoming orchard.’
(Mary Webb, Gone to Earth)

It feels strange to write without a deadline or word count, or even a vague structure scribbled out while I type. I’ve become so used to writing for ‘commercial’ purposes - magazine features have become my bread-and-butter income, and I’m lucky - to work from home, write about subjects I’m interested in, drink coffee and send off invoices with that smug flourish of self-employment. I like writing for a career, but I’ve realised I no longer make time to write for myself. This is a movement towards a different kind of writing that I haven’t embraced in a long time.

This year was intense, and I’m starting to regain my balance. I am married now - something both Dave and I didn’t think would make as much difference to our lives as it has. We planned the party and assumed life would go on as before, but now there is a deep contentment and comfort, deeper than I predicted. It’s grounded me, and I look around at our home together - a little 1960s bungalow, two dogs, a garden - and I can feel myself retreating. Not retreating from life, but moving away from consumerism, materialism, apathy, greed. My home has become my sanctuary, and I have gone to earth.

We are not sheep. The earth is burning because we are consumed by apathy - the ability to shrug off the guilt owed to our species, and choosing instead to leave it at someone else’s door - the government, big business, developing countries. It’s everyone’s fault but ours - except it isn’t. I am not a sheep, and I refuse to conjure any more excuses for living unsustainably. Climate change will be as damaging and terrifying as a nuclear war - it creeps closer, day by day, and nobody cares. Except they do. I found myself harbouring a growing dislike for humanity through my early twenties, but now I hear people talk about eco-anxiety and I realise people care, and it has made me love my species again.

So here are my thoughts, with no genre or purpose - just small essays, vignettes, ideas without labels or edits. I find myself retreating and reflecting, re-examining my relationship with the earth and finding a new way to live - towards freedom, compassion and compromise. This space is for my thoughts - a tide of words and feelings, ebbing back and forth across the estuary of my adult life - empowered and culpable.

Wild words without boundaries, for an audience that can come and go as it pleases.

Tiffany FrancisComment