Leaves in the Stream is the story of the early growth of a community set in the near future after the breakdown and collapse of the current way of life as we have known and seen it develop in the west.The members of the community are challenged and motivated by certain values which portray and enhance their respect for themselves, for each other and for everything – especially Nature - around them. But it’s not all plain sailing as they find themselves caught in the middle between doing things and getting them done, and they find that some values require more than mere determination to assimilate.
The leading protagonist is a character called Little Bear who has been tasked with guiding and nurturing the community through a series of challenges or growing pains. Little Bear is in tune with the worlds of Spirit and of Nature. For her, every thing has its own spirit, its own life force. She shows how, being completely in tune with this natural, spiritual energy, she can call on it for guidance to help the growing community to be able to see further and understand more about the natural forces in play on the Earth.
The story revolves around the unfolding of the challenges that the community members face in living and working together according to new versions of old values. Much depends on if and how they will overcome the challenges they face, since it is the ‘if’ and the ‘how’ which will decide their future. The story culminates in their greatest test which will determine the fate of the community.
Leaves in the Stream can be read as a stand-alone book or as the second part in a series following on from Two Strangers, One Soul.
I believe that massive changes to the planet - and therefore to us - will occur in the near future. Serious breakdown is already manifesting on every front - financial, economic, social, political, agricultural, meteorological, industrial, environmental and personal. It was some forty years ago that EF Schumacher said that it was already getting very late to reverse this degenerative trend. In virtually every case, this breakdown would now seem irreversible unless there is sudden change on a huge scale. To many, such change seems beyond us, hell-bent as we are on economic 'growth' and 'development' that cause the destruction that we call progress.
It would seem that in order to survive and finally learn to live together in peace, harmony and sufficiency in tune with the world around us, we do need change on a sudden and huge scale. If we are to succeed in shedding our isolation, insecurity and our separation from Nature, then we have no option but to radically change ourselves and to alter significantly the way in which we live.
Most of us are naturally caring and thoughtful. In recent times this care has become largely limited to those closest to us with the thought that others - and other things - don't matter or just can't matter because we are too busy, too short of time. But they all do matter as we are all part of this evolving planet. We all have our contribution to make no matter how small. Most of us really are friends of Nature, friends of the Earth; it's just that our 'busy' lives stop us from making more than a cursory gesture or token acknowledgement of all things green. We no longer stop to take notice of the disasters taking place around us. It's all just more news, to be fleetingly acknowledged and then forgotten. If anything, this news turns us more inward, makes us more separate from each other.
We have not been kind to Nature in the last couple of hundred years, yet She continues to sustain us despite our every effort to exploit, control and destroy Her. The more of Nature's magic and beauty we destroy, the more we clone our consumer culture throughout. Nature has Her own energy or life force and, each little bit we destroy, we destroy a little bit of ourselves. As depression and stress start to rank among the major demands for medical care and attention, the view is gradually gaining ground that our dislocation from Nature is partly, if not wholly, responsible for our social impoverishment, our psychological isolation and the loss of our cultural vitality.
It is not a step too far to suggest that we have got things horribly wrong, that we are missing or denying something that we just don’t or won’t see. There are many who sense that something fundamental is wrong, something deeper than what professional commentators pass off as cyclical change or patterns of economic or climatic unrest. If you believe in coincidence, then you have to accept that it is an almighty coincidence that so many systems and structures are falling apart at the same time. Look at the picture again: financial and economic desperation, social and political inertia, agricultural overload, meteorological anger, industrial and environmental disease and personal insecurity and stress. And this isn't just one country in a mess, it's everywhere. Nowhere is safe from change. Nowhere is immune.
There are three basic reasons why I write this story. The first is that we have lost the sense of community that we still had not so very long ago. Big business and 'getting a good deal' have replaced our community values much to our individual and collective detriment. It is important to regain a sense of togetherness and involvement to challenge our current feelings of isolation, powerlessness and meaninglessness. The second is to illustrate the values themselves that are so essential to making life true, happy and meaningful. The third is that story-telling has a vital role in community life as a way of communicating and embedding these values. It's important to make sure we do not forget again the values that bring us together instead of separate us.
Leaves in the Stream is the story of the beginning and early growth of a community set in the near future after the breakdown and collapse of the way of life as we know it today. The members of the community are challenged and motivated by certain values which manifest and enhance their respect for themselves, for each other and for everything around them. They are not, for example, motivated by the use of technology to make tasks easier or more convenient. They know that making things easier and more convenient has not worked in the past and will bring no more than a fleeting, false relief if pursued again. It's not all plain sailing however as the community members find themselves leaning towards old ways of thinking and yet need to remain open to change within themselves and in the way they think and interact with each other in this new world.
The leading protagonist is a character called Little Bear who has been tasked with guiding and nurturing the community through a series of challenges or growing pains. Little Bear is in tune with the worlds of Spirit and of Nature. For her, everything has its own spirit, its own life force while being part of the Whole. She shows how, being completely in tune with this natural, spiritual energy she can call on it for guidance to be able to see further and understand more about the natural forces in play on Earth. The story revolves around the unfolding of the challenges that the community members face in living and working together according to values which many of them had forgotten and are now having to re-learn.
The characters are largely fictitious, although I see them around me all the time. The events have, to my knowledge, not yet happened although I cannot be sure. The concerns, emotions, aspirations, and thinking of the characters are those of us all and, as such, they are undeniable.
Much depends on if and how those characters overcome the challenges they face because it is the 'if' and the 'how' which will decide their future. The story culminates in their greatest test which determines the subsequent fate of the community.
I started by saying that changes will occur in the near future because of worldwide exhaustion and breakdown. We can either let these changes happen to us or we can change the way we think and make them happen the way we want through our motivation and intention. The unfolding story offers an alternative set of values to consider not just for a possible future but for right now in order to grow more in tune with the Earth as She moves on. In many ways there are not many options left, although everything is still a choice for everyone, as it always was.
If there is a notion of a plea in this book, it is to cast off the I can't do anything about it mentality. Because everyone can do something about it, no matter how small. Size does not matter. Intention and thought do.
The only one who has everything at their fingertips is you.