Click on the link above for another powerful piece from Martin. Here’s a taste:-
‘Once upon a time there was a lonely hunter. One evening, returning to his hut over the snow, he saw smoke coming from his chimney. When he entered the shack, he found a warm fire, a hot meal on the table, and his threadbare clothes washed and dried. There was no one to be found.
The next day, he doubled back early from hunting. Sure enough, there was again smoke from the chimney, and he caught the scent of cooking. When he cautiously opened the door, he found a fox pelt hanging from a peg, and woman with long red hair and green eyes adding herbs to a pot of meat. He knew in the way that hunters know that she was fox-woman-dreaming, that she had walked clean out of the Otherworld. ‘I am going to be the woman of this house,’ she told him.
The hunter’s life changed. There was laughter in the hut, someone to share in the labour of crafting a life, and, in the warm dark when they made love, it seemed the edges of the hut dissolved in the vast green acres of the forest and the stars.
Over time, the pelt started to give off its wild, pungent scent. A small price, you would think, but the hunter started to complain. The hunter could detect it on his pillow, his clothes, even on his own skin. His complaints grew in number until one night the woman nodded, just once, her eyes glittering. In the morning she, and the pelt, and the scent, was gone. It is said that to this day the hunter waits by the door of his hut, gazing over snow, longing for the fox woman.
I would suggest that we are that hunter, societally and most likely personally. The smell of the pelt is the price of real relationship to wild nature; its sharp, regal, undomesticated scent. While that scent is in our hut there can be no Hadrian’s wall between us and the living world.
Somewhere back down the line, the West woke up to the fox woman gone. And when she left she took many stories with her. And, when the day is dimming, and our great successes have been bragged to exhaustion, the West sits, lonely in its whole body for her. Stories that are more than just a dagger between our teeth. More than just a bellow of conquest. As I say, we have lost a lot of housemaking skills for how to welcome such stories. We turned our face away from the pelt. Underneath our wealth, the West is a lonely hunter.’
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter
Counselling in Exeter since 1994