Review of Oak Wise by Ximena Eduarda {Brazilian Reviewer for TDN}

Changes the planet is undergoing become the starting point of a life’s journey reconnecting with life, nature and roots, reconstructing the self, or as the author calls it her ‘ecological faith.’

The journey takes us first into the detachment from constrains to ride with the naked self, giving free reign to life through experience rather than meanings; could be visiting the soul of the planet, becoming a process within a natural cycle, finding the goal of telling the untold story, joining the Otherworld into daily life, walking with the life of trees, the perpetual return home, and many other experiences. Each step revolves the current turn of events beyond assertions of distraught or disenchantment, assuming they are not what we searched for nor what we are and still leaving room to look at ourselves and our surroundings.

‘Oak Wise’ is not composed of separate pieces bound together, each poem holds a bond to all others and at the same time reaches the reader with a bond to experiences that speak of ancient ways in a familiar way for those closely connected to nature and suggestive to those about to reconnect.

These poems and proses carry a process just starting to separate layers of conventionalism in the search of essence in life. The perpetual quest of remembering who we are leads to many portals where the untold stories of the self are harbingers to write another history, where the intertwinement among nature and roots gives answers to today’s turmoil and upheaval. And although it is written in a very personal style, it does reach the reader inserting feelings into words and not choosing words to outline meanings.

Through the overflow of literal meanings we catch a glimpse of layers already removed. ‘Ecological’ through these pages is presented more as a way of life than a concept describing those ways. ‘Faith’ is life rather than a dogma. And both became the thread to tie changes unleashing now with the ancient ways in order for reconnection to take place.

Ancient ways are presented not as the ‘well-told story’ nor the ‘well-written verses’, they are conveyed as emotions in an engaging quest. Many might have spoken before about what the ‘Otherworld’ is or what they found there, seldom do they convey what it feels like to be there or the role it plays in changing times.

No one will find in this book the ‘how-to’ of anything, but anyone can relate to the experience of separation from ways that have not taken us anywhere. And other views might be able to relate to the quest of searching themselves, or perhaps, for those who underwent the quest feel we are not that different from each other.

The links established between the ancient ways, nature and changes undergoing become pathways to approach other languages where flags and causes chasing to ‘save the planet’ become the substance of everyday actions as part of something wider than just the ‘ecosystem’. The aftermath of journeying through Pagan symbology does that and more, showing that disdain and scorn were not enough to erase the real nature of people and the return not only home, but also to the soil where life sprouts from the hands of the creators.

In times when many are starting to remember we forgot many things along the road, the journey of L.M. Browning might arise other landscapes into the reader’s life and the way we relate to nature and ourselves.

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