The body as a place

The body as a place April 19, 2013

I’ve been thinking a lot about the body, specifically my body, this week. I haven’t been feeling all that great. But it’s led me to think about how our bodies are places, too.

It took me a long time to realize that I carry my sense of place within me. I don’t just mean feeling comfortable in my own skin or feeling like a friend to myself, a self-companion where ever I went, or comfortable in a location. I mean, I carry my Land within me. I think I was in Wales when I realized that I carry Alaska within me, wherever I go.

Now I am thinking that I, too, am an embodied Land. At a minute level we each are entire universes for the mites and bacteria that live on and in us. If you have ever grown a human, birthed and nursed it, I suspect you can understand the connection many cultures have made between the fertile female body and the fertile land. The land feeds me from its own body and I feed another living creature with mine.

In another sense, I am my own World Tree, an axis between the worlds, both cosmologically and spiritually. Like the Land under our feet, I am a pillar that connects the worlds. At the very least, I connect myself to the physical world around me. On a good day, I can connect to other people and maybe even more.

My Welsh fairy tree, standing in for the World Tree today.

I am a location in space and time. As a physical site, I too can be colonized by forces that seek my subjugation and domination. I can be used a tool for others’ benefit. Whatever we do to the land we can do ourselves and each other.

I think as humans we are incredibly versatile. We can live just about anywhere and adapt to seemingly endless circumstances. We are also products of the Lands we come from, and locations ourselves. Each of us come from and are specific geographies. Just as I don’t expect the world to be all one kind of climate or landscape, I don’t expect or want all people to have the same texture or shape. We are geographies of our own!

This idea is not fully fleshed out. Feel free to run with this idea and help me develop it!

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