[The following activities have been used successfully with a Gatekeeper group in South Devon, mainly in Dartmoor]
During a silent walk, take a sheet of A4 paper and fold it into four sections. Number each section 1 – 4.
Capture off-the-top-of-your-head images and associations in answer to these questions in each section:
1. What is the overview of the landscape?
2. Describe 1” square patch of a part of the landscape which calls to you.
3. Speak from being ‘in the shoes of’ one aspect of the landscape, for instance a tree or rock, which calls to you.
4. What does the Angel’s whisper say to you?
Individuals: Now take the key images of each section and make a verse, continue until you have as many verses as you feel like writing. Give each person the chance to speak their verse to the landscape ‘listening angel’, and stay silent for a minute afterwards, listening to how the landscape presence responds to you.
Gradually edit them for rhythm, sense, etc. (later in the day if you feel inclined).
For a group: each contribute a key image, the scribe writes each down on separate lines to make a verse. Create any number of verses you feel like doing.
For a group song: improvise with a well-known tune you all know (e.g. Ode to Joy?), practice putting the words of your verses(s) as best you can. This is fun, and might take a little more editing.
For a dance: sing your song and improvise with simple swaying and stepping movements, don’t make them too complex just yet.
Share your experiences, and what you feel the landscape ‘spirit of place’ is saying.