Words and Phrases to avoid moral accountability in human/non-human relationships ~ contributions via Twitter, with thanks.

Language is power. Observe meanings and misrepresentations.

Please feel free to contribute.

via @FindNatureNow “There’s a deceptive style of ‘code talk’ that’s become pervasive in US government re: treatment of wildlife. It’s the psychology of attempting to increase a false ‘public acceptance’ of the blatant mistreatment and abuse of wildlife. Important topic!”

To Earth, my daughter.


Paintings of wild animals and hand markings left by adults and children on Sulawesi cave walls, Indonesia, at least 35,000 years old, some of the oldest artworks known. Photo: Maxime Aubert, Griffith University 2014 – do click on the image for more information.


For a while, I think of Earth not as mother but as my child. She’s my daughter, the one I love most, though we are mirrors. Our hands lay upon the cave walls. Ochre, stardust, DNA.

Work in progress…


I gift my deep love to you, unconditionally. I show you love by the things I do. From the beginning, we respect one another and reciprocate all.

I care for you in the best ways I know. Life is a continuous search for those ways, especially in this era of human artificalis.

Ask me questions and I’ll try to answer them. If I have no answers, I’ll say. Perhaps, we’ll discover those answers together. Or we’ll enjoy trying. We’ll laugh at the impossibilities.

You’ll make mistakes, often the best way to learn. I too make mistakes, often. I’ll admit when I’m wrong, and you’ll have my apologies.

I will lavish my time upon you, and be generous in your freedom. When you’re sick, I’ll tend to you and do all I can to make you better.

I give you my strength to move through uncertainty, and my resolve to find solutions to problems. It is normal to feel scared. But come to me when you know you need help. I will do all I can for you.

We will share memories and stories, and form new ones together. There is pain between us, we live it like a question. And then there is forgiveness.

I pay attention to you, no matter what I am doing. I listen to you for who you are, not who I think you should be. I’m here for you for as long as there’s breath in my body, and beyond. I embrace you.

I am not jealous but gratified by all your great loves and friendships. I learn from you.

There are many lives interconnected with you, and with multiple values, perspectives, senses and ideals. I accept that you have your beliefs, come what may, so long as you are safe. For it is my job to keep you safe…


With thanks to Gracie, my daughter, for her valued input. x

Great Pond Mountain

Sound of the Whip-Poor-Will via The Macaulay Library

My baby lay on a rainbow rug on a granite summit, the cells of her new born skin shimmering in the Maine sun. Big Fall skies stretched bands of cloud to streamers, whilst hundreds of acres of clear-fell and regenerating forest rolled atop the undulations below us. A few passerines flitted high in the cerulean, like moths.

I gazed deep into Gracie’s brown eyes and watched as she absorbed my animated mouthing of words … ‘big blue sky’, ‘clouds’, ‘birds’. She looked up into the air, kicked her legs and returned her gaze to me. I smiled, packed her changing things away into a shoulder bag and scooped her up into my arms to face the vista. We danced to a silent rhythm, as parents and their children so often do, and she regained her sense of up and down. The gentle arch of Earth’s distant horizon burned into our memory cells.

And then, with a few tentative steps to avoid the oldest of lichens healing this bald mountain, we joined new friends for the return hike. As we made our way downwards, the sky turned slate with encroaching night and stained black the few blueberries left uneaten by bears on the path. What’s more, as we returned to the car, I think we heard the lament of a distant whip-poor-will. I am not entirely sure. It is humbling that some things will always remain a beautiful and affecting mystery. Gracie heard it too, turning to the sky to look for a bird. Connections had been made.

Great Pond Mountain was a grand moment in the small scheme of things, a quintessential mother-daughter bonding in fresh air and crystal light. I’m sure my daughter had noticed birds before in her short few weeks thus far, but their presence in that particular sky, above that particular mountain, I’d like to imagine, is the moment she discovered life as interconnected ~ we, the sky, birds and love.




My whole body shook, I had no control over the waves of anxiety. By now, I could barely speak. Three months since finding my mother, I’d experienced little sleep. I’d experienced a few scorching, electrified dreams, and a torrent of subconscious triggers. My world had warped out of shape. As a mother, I felt I was failing, and the guilt was exacerbating all. Dialectic drugs at once dazzled me and felled me. Mirtazapine, diazepam, zopiclone, temazepam. Nothing was healing my head, all just making me sick.

My relatives soon left, and I was left alone in a bedroom, staring down at my own convulsing body as if it did not belong to me. In this sudden solitude, I realised the need to surrender to the wisdom of others. I had reached out for help and needed to trust someone, something.

To that point, the vision of my little girl had saved me. She was the last connection with the world beyond my fucked-up limbic system. I had dissociated with all else. I needed to heal for her. The state of play between my mother and me on my knees that mid summer’s day in 2008 was proof enough. But the idea was also suffocating…no quick escape for me.

So after two days and nights of being nursed, a little food and the desperation to take new drugs to sleep, I was ready to see my psychiatrist. He was a specialist in EMDR for the treatment of post traumatic stress. He was the reason I had come.

I moved slowly, still trembling, down the winding stairs and into the lobby, only to cower beneath Tudor beams, like bare Winter branches, in disbelief. Dr Kidd appeared, professional, suited and with a dark red tie, balding. He smiled courteously.


“Ginny.” I murmured, and smiled back as best I could.

He ushered me into a windowless library. A nurse matierialized to take my obs and vanished just as quickly. Dr Kidd invited me to sit whilst he briefly spoke of his biography, and then he outlined the case for using EMDR with me. He glanced at my quivvering body.

And then he came and held my hand.

“Close your eyes, trust me,” he ventured. I did so, surrendering.

“Imagine you are in a place of unique safety. Conjure it in your mind. Somewhere you may have been, or never at all. Somewhere you feel at peace.”

My mind was still assimilating the new environs, still reeling about the beams ~ oak panels, books on the shelves, tungsten light, elegant wood and velvet dining chairs. A new man’s face. I felt self-conscious about my shakes and tried to quell them, but to no avail. I breathed in and closed my eyes. I instantly saw my mother, dead, and opened my eyes again, startled. Dr Kidd gripped my hand tightly, and urged me to close my eyes once more.

After a while, through tears, I managed to focus on something other than my mother’s ghost. A sound in my mind, the gentle lapping of ocean waves on a sandy beach.

“Where are you Ginny?”

“I am at the beach.” I uttered with a dry, sticky mouth.

“Who or what do you see?”

I paused for quite a while, trying to focus.

There was light. Bright sunshine burned at my skin. A turquoise bay opened up, devoid of humans, tropical vegetation bristling on the hinterland, white sands and limestone rock. I felt my knees tighten as I crouched on a wide ledge peering into the shallows beneath. They were teeming with small silver fish, darting here and there, shimmering in the sunlit photic zone. I observed. Then the moment was gone, memories formed of an imagined state of peace.

So I told my doctor, and he returned to his chair. He pondered for a moment, with his pen touching his lips.

“I am not too worried about you, Ginny.”

“I’ve never been to the tropics.” I replied, bemused. I had felt on the edge of death.

“You love life.” He smiled, I listened.

“Most people I see at this stage do not see much light. These silver fish… they are darting about, glinting in the sun, alive. They are your love for life. Most people, again, would not imagine living things at this point after trauma. This is my experience. I am not too worried about you, Ginny. But I know we have much work to do.”

We did work together and built up trust over the next few weeks. It was exhausting, a shift from living in the constant presence of my mother’s dead body, and in the place where she died, to understanding it was all in the past and I was no longer a part of the scene. I also came to terms with the repressive guilt, so common in survivors of suicide, and I learned to sleep soundly again, unaided. It was a life-joy to return to my daughter as a functioning and doting Mum.

But these shoals of silver fish were a turning point. A few seconds of time, imagined  many years ago. They were fictional beings and a made-up coastline. Today, the memory and significance of them seems as cogent as ever. I wanted to share them with you. And I want to share them with my daughter.

Darting about, glinting in the sun, alive.