singing mountains, singing home

Today I am posting an excerpt from one of my e-letters, in response to an article I read which called for more writing about the land as a living being. I do a lot of such writing, and so felt stirred to share one piece of it ...

It's long; my apologies.

All life lifts its voices, hands, artworks, dreams, in shared worship. Even the stone beneath us sings holy, holy. Martin Shaw calls the continents great dreaming animals; I envision them as wise stone-sisters swimming on a sea of flame. They move long away from each other, then move back again, in a drift of dance. And the ancient, unhurried rhythm of it is set by their song.

This is, they sing. This is.

Everything they carry on their vast, bony backs is bound to their song. And each of us - woman, frog, mountain, flower - has our own line to add to the harmony. Some resonate with others, and so you have a boy who feels kindred to fast-flowing water, or an old woman who's always had a remarkable way with birds. All of us though, whatever our voice, are singing the same thing. We call the sun up every morning and the stars out of darkness at night. We sing life.

My own continent is a ghost. Known as Zelandia, it broke away from Australia millions of years ago and sank into a long, silky dream beneath the luminous southern ocean until, so the Maori say, the trickster Maui fished it up. Now it sings differently from it aunts - its cries a lament that sounds like the dark heart of life : a longing for home.

(I wonder, are there ancient, half-forgotten Aboriginal songlines that ravel a bird-led, sea-washed way over the Tasman Sea to New Zealand? Do the red stones of the Australian Outback call across to Taranaki, Ruapehu, or even to my own small hills that always seem so lachrymose? Or does this wayward ghost-girl follow a wild dance all of her own?)

That elegy echoes along the backbone of Zelandia, its wild, beautiful mountains. The pine-dark sound of it draws me closer to life's heart than any lowland tale or book of wonder. When I hear it, I intuitively understand.

This is.

Oh holy, holy.


  1. So beautiful. I have dear friends in your country and one day I hope to visit them and their magical home. x

  2. such beauty. the ancient, unhurried rhythm. we do sing life. we do.

  3. Such a beautiful piece. How I wish to visit your lands one day.

  4. Your words are always so calming, Sarah. Even when I am too tired to do more than skim, they manage to just... make my soul feel better. More serene. <3