Today my favourite picnic table is available. Then I ask, what does that mean, since I come here only for a few days, every couple of years?

My commitment to Local Magic came not after years of living in one place, although I felt committed to that place. My actual commitment was after I had moved, feeling uncertain and disconnected and – to an extent – unwilling to fall in love with the new land I was living on. I spent a year in that in-between state – living somewhere I hadn’t formed a deep magical bond with – before realising that days and months of my life were passing in disconnection and that not committing because I didn’t know the future was absurd. Sure, I might move and feel that my heart was wrenched out of me. Sure, this would be yet another place I loved and might be parted from, and so be it. This is the way of it; in place, in relationship, probably in all endeavours.

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Every place is a local place. This picnic table, under a willow tree, metres away from the confluence of the Dordogne and Vézère rivers, in the south of France at the bottom of the hillfort town of Limeuil (current population 140) has a place in my heart for many reasons. I wrote part of a book here, at this table, either Rituals of Celebration or Circle of Eight, I can’t now remember which one. But I remember the table. It’s local to me in that I keep returning. But even if I didn’t, wouldn’t it still be local to me, in the moments I was here? Surely this distancing we do between ourselves and the land we happen to be on is part of the great disconnect between humans and the rest of nature. 

These rivers, this land is local to me ancestrally; half of my ancestors resided in France, half of them were born, lived and died here. Well, if we go back enough centuries, some of them came from Italy, but in any case, a lot of them were around here, part of this earth and these river systems and this culture. It’s also local to me in that I keep returning – not just generally, to the south of France, or even specifically to this region of France, but to this place, this double-river and even this picnic table. The ergonomics of the picnic table are better, for writing on a computer, than any combination of hotel desk-and-chair that I’ve yet found. Plus the view, of course, and the sounds – of the river, a light gurgling-flowing-trickling and a French market-stall scene about twenty metres behind me, a meat cleaver, French laughter and bargaining and intent conversation.

If I believe that land is local to me, as soon as I’m there – what does that mean? I build up resonances that are deeper, the longer and more continued my visits are; that’s part of it, especially with the places I open my heart to, or draw into my heart. The first time I ever came to this place, twenty years ago, I was happy, I have a photo in which I am shining and dancing with happiness. I loved it best out of a dozen similar tiny towns we visited, I remember that. I always remembered its name and six or so years ago when I searched for it online I felt a shout of recognition when I located it. Driving up here a couple of days ago, for only my fourth-ever visit, I was on the edge of tears. Of relief, recognition, return. I am strongly called by land – but not just by one piece, one area. I always felt the Blue Mountains call to me, for thirty years before I moved there. Is that why I live there now, or did I somehow always know that I would, and that was the call?

This town, now, Limeuil – these rivers at this place, this tiny cluster of medieval streets and houses – I want to say that it is local to me, or that I am local to it. Not in the same way as if I’d lived here all my life, but in some way, a way that is meaningful. And if we let ourselves create relationship, deep creative magical relationship – with all the lands and places where we lived and worked and travelled – wouldn’t that be a step towards mending the broken state of the world, and the broken-down state of the relationship between humans and the earth?

Last night I watched the nearly-full moon rise and begin to move through the sky, and so I discovered or re-discovered where east is, here. How it relates to the rivers and the town. I watched it on and off over a couple of hours, surprised by its direction and having to relocate myself again, oh, I  am in the northern hemisphere, the moon moves to the south… oh…. Today I feel more connected to where the sun is and realise that I knew, without having to work it out in my head, which way it is moving through the sky… Locality imprints itself onto me. As for the rivers, the picnic table and the market – I trust they will continue, in my absence and still be here in whatever forms, when I return.