Songs of Air, Earth, Fire and Water
Published in Theatres of Architectural Imagination, edited by Lisa Landrum and Sam Ridgway, Routledge Taylor and Francis (UK/USA), Print, 2023
ISBN: 978-1-032-28611-2
DOI: 10.4324/9781003297666


There is a wild spirit in the air. It lives above me and around me, below me and inside me. I cannot live without it, so I welcome it into my home, into my body, into the air I breathe. Sometimes the spirit is angry, and I become angry too. With every breath, it howls and the ground beneath my feet freezes and thunder echoes across the horizon. Its spine is crooked; its wings are made of bone. When it walks, I hear teeth chattering as the sound of feathers brush against ancient willow trees.


There is a wild spirit in this earth, in the dirt and stones that my bare feet walk on. There is a wild spirit whose skin is porous, formed of the leaves and bark that fall, decay and are reborn over and over again. When it sleeps, I might mistake it for a rock, but underneath that rock a wild horse awakens. As it gallops toward me, a whirlwind of scratching sound rumbles along the forest bed. Plants grow from the land touched by its hair, leaving the gift of life in the etches it leaves behind. It buries me when I am ready to depart this life, and it gives me the food that I need to survive.


There is a wild spirit sleeping in the embers of flames, beneath the soil and the roots, beneath the rocks and the sea. It burns hot and sometimes burns even hotter. When the land cracks open too wide it emerges from slumber and destroys. It swallows anything and everything in its path and laughs in doing so – not from malice or evil, but of necessity and desire. And so, I have learnt to sacrifice in its honor, to keep it at bay, praying that it spares me in the wake of its path. There are times when I have fooled myself that I have mastered the skill to keep it caged, to keep it small, but it is not small, and it cannot be tamed, but it can be loved.


At last, there is a wild spirit in the sea. It is heavy and it is long. It shapes stone into form and mirrors the truth of the sky. I am made of it and from it. It envelopes me at birth and it drains out of me in my final sleep. There will come a day when its flooding will show no mercy, for it will no longer be able to hold the world’s weight under its tender skin. Sometimes it wishes this fate to be different, but that which melts into it can no longer be found, will be reversed and shall not be unwritten.

And so, the day has come to let these spirits tell us their stories of life and of death, of how this will end and how it will all begin again.


Contact    Donate    Newsletter    Terms & Conditions    Privacy Policy