I sit here, breathing, being, repeating the sacred verse “I am in Christ and Christ is in me.”
I’m on a blue camp bed under a plastic tarpaulin, a camp I’ve created on the side of a hill in rural Wales. And as I recite these words of scripture, it strikes me that the site I’ve chosen is in fact a liminal space.
I look to the right, densely planted with birch trees; the floor carpeted in moss and ferns. Dark, thick, almost foreboding. It looks cold and uninviting, a damp expanse of monochrome flora.
I look to the left, the birch thins and soon ends. Beyond, an ancient moss-covered oak. I see ferns dying, turned brown in the superfluous light. Species change — there’s a conifer, perhaps a douglas fir. And beyond, heather, ash, brambles, and blackberries to pick. Along the same contour on this hill, yet noticeably different, more light, more open, and biodiverse.
Behind me, up the slope, the birch stops suddenly in its tracks as a wall of thickly planted conifers steps down the mountain. Nothing grows beneath these giants; it is almost a permanent darkness, the soil ericaceous, no sign of life. Yet still possessing a beauty and wonder that beckons me in. It is mysterious, ethereal, like a subterranean world of living tunnels.
Then, in front of me, beneath my liminal space, the slope drops suddenly into a valley. A raging stream roars at the bottom, ferocious waterfalls and rapids, gallons of water crashing past every second. The steep banks are covered in verdant ferns beneath a scattering of various trees displaying their orange, green and yellow leaves.
In each direction, such diversity, such difference. Yet these differences do not seem antagonistic. They seem complimentary and the transition between biomes is gentle.
The one exception to this is the man-made conifer plantation that dominates the landscape above me. I find this profound. Where nature is gentle and gradual in its evolution across time and space, humankind places harsh sudden boundaries. Conifers start. Conifers stop. I ponder where else do we do this? I think of the dualism and judgementalism of right and wrong, a black and white worldview, so counter to Paul’s famous words, “There is now no Greek or Jew, no male or female, no slave or free.”
So, as I start afresh on this writing journey, it feels significant and so encouraging to have found this spot, a liminal space only noticed (consciously) as I begin to pack up and prepare to go home; only noticed as I sit and dwell on the words “I am in Christ and Christ is in me”. These words are another liminal space, a gentle and gradual evolution between the human and the divine, blurred lines, my humanity and my divinity, co-existing, intermingling like the birch and ferns, the ash and moss, the oaks and waterfalls that surround me.