Our house has always been a little otherworldly. It is built into a hill, like a hobbit hole, (the same hill which holds the body of Thomas) and has water flowing underneath - great for moving energy along and encouraging an open-palmed, open-minded flow in our lives, but not so good structurally speaking. Returning from a hot, bright holiday (thank you, thank you sun), Pickle and I found this house has become more fairytale than ever. The top garden is almost impassable for me and impenetrable for Pickle and brambles have crept in at the windows to fasten round the first thing they touch. We were only away ten days!
I wonder, if we left for a year (and a day, perhaps), whether the house would disappear from this world altogether - either by passing into some other realm or, more likely, being subsumed by greenery.
Nature abounds and bounds and slithers and buzzes and creeps and flits and oozes. Nature rules here. I love it. It feels safe, like I'm being reclaimed by my true family - by blood.
But I have neighbours. Lovely neighbours, who have been kind and patient with the wildness on our land. They have regularly-mown lawns and small children who do not want to encounter our bastard triffid-nettle army, our orcish dandelions and ragwort. They want grass.
So. I will begin the eternal dance that is gardening, even though I don't quite know the steps of ruthless reduction, removal and replacement, while nature surges all around me in a storm of vitality. And every now and again, I will down tools and, getting very close to the earth, whisper encouragement.
The world has been encouraging me too, as ever. Pickle and I have been adventuring far and near. Bill and Anne have visited to chase the elements with Pickle.
We gathered a couple more friends (as happens) and visited Thomas's grave in unexpected sunshine, sharing snacks and the work of barrowing the kids around or holding them by arms and legs, face down and 'flying' them through the long grass.
Thomas's hawthorn is growing well and his oak is exploding out of its tube.
The next time the sun deigned to shine on this soggy corner of the moor, we went to our first festival without Thomas. Chagstock is just on our doorstep and gets better every year. I had to listen to the headliners from the tent as Pickle announced 'the sun come up' before 5 each morning and would not accept my story that it was still the night. The Fun Lovin' Criminals sounded so good I danced in my sleeping bag. Pickle had a great time on all the rides and swings and the bouncy castle
and exploring all the weird and wonderful arty things about the place. She very courageously shook hands with a 7 foot dragon, but not the big blue puppet lady. 'Too close' she said and the lady hurried off to terrify another small person.
With just one hour to unpack and pack, we set off for Jersey to spend another week camping with Gappy, my beautiful sister-friend Bonnie (Pickle's goddessmother) and her daughter. So good to be close to the land again.
Pickle learned new skills
and celebrated climbing a 20 foot mole hill with her new friend.
We found unexpected marvels
'Can I climb?' asked Pickle.
The blue was a dream. It's been ages since I've swum in the sea and I miss it. Giving my body to that expanse. Being so held and so vulnerable (years ago a Jersey riptide tried to take me under). Divine.
We found a little cliff walk which reminded us of home
and led to a rocky cove where we could dabble in bath-warm pools and find a dozen different coloured pebbles.
Our way home was just as beautiful
and we left with plans to return next year.
I am not at all robust lately, but cleansed a little by sun and sea and time spent on the earth. And I am listening, repeatedly, to this: