Thoughts on Launching the Caledonia Collective

It’s a few days since we launched this new thing called the Caledonia Collective. After months of chat, set-up work and plenty of last minute hustle, it’s finally there, a new thing in my life and in many other peoples’. The more I reflect on it, the more chuffed I feel to be finally doing this, but especially to be doing it now.

It’s been a shitty year. No, it’s actually just been the latest in a whole string of them, right?. Remember back when some people just wanted 2016 to be over? They were the days. But I don’t need or want to dwell on the myriad social, medical, environmental, and economical reasons why many of us will be glad to see the back of 2020. Because it hasn’t been all bad.

I really believe in the inherent resilience of community, and the ability of people to face up to challenge with good humour. I’m not interested in vomiting my political opinions into the existential void of social echo chambers. I want to look at the things that tie us together – the deep threads of connection that are woven into the fabric of our lives. That’s why this blog now exists.

There is nothing that I can think of that ties people together more strongly than their mutual relationship with landscape, even if they don’t realise it. It’s a relationship that might be manifested very powerfully, or not at all, and yet it’s there all the same. We’re all ultimately dependent on it whether we’re aware of that or not, and regardless of how we feel about it. Our relationship with the landscape is the most important, and longest lasting of our lives. It’s the only one that is guaranteed to last for our entire lives. Longer, in fact, for we grow out of the world and then return to it.

Like any relationship, this one takes form with every interaction between ‘You’ and ‘It.’ I put those in quotation marks because, ultimately, I don’t believe there is any distinction between the two. They’re two sides of the same coin, or perhaps the crest and trough of the wave. You can’t have one without the other. But what’s fascinating is the way they interact. You, and the land. Me, and the land. Us, and the land.

We need those interactions. It’s not a case of ‘now more than ever,’ even in 2020; it’s just a case of needing them. Like air. We don’t need air now more than ever – we’ve simply always needed it and always will. So, I want to tell these stories in the same way I want to breathe. The stories of the things that pass between ‘Me’ and ‘It,’ big and small. And I’m not the only one. ‘It’ moves through all of us.

So here we are. I have no idea what stories people are going to tell. The land does not give itself to us in the same ways at the same time. It’s relationship to each of us is personal. But I expect to be surprised, amazed, and moved to learn the ways in which we have all been brushed by its wing.

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