Suddenly we’re spending time outside again. After our three months in a house, where I would sometimes find that days had passed almost entirely inside, now, our life is connected inextricably to the wood around us. Our time in the cabin is made complete by the time slithering down muddy paths to the compost toilet at night; by stepping outside in the morning to the frozen, rosy dawn beyond the trees and over the hills; by nipping to the woodstack for an armful of logs for the burner. Last night as I grabbed the nearest blanket to wrap around me, shawl like, to accompany Tansy on a night time loo trip, I felt as if I was stepping further into the past with each step along the path.
The memory and spirit of the women who came before me, my ancestors; stepping out on their night time winter paths, holding their lanterns before them, stumbling through their woollen petticoats and shawls, feeling the cold on their skin, the mist on their cheeks, the cry of the owl in their ear . I felt so close to them, and a tiny glimpse of what it was like to live away from the slick, quick, glossed over shininess of the 21st century. I have read and absorbed countless stories and histories of domestic realities in previous centuries but it is only in living it again that I feel it in my body, the reality of it. The relentless practical tasks and the raw chapped hands, the living close to the bone. Our neighbours who live in two beautiful yurts, expressed just what I felt. ‘Living like this you experience the real highs and the real lows, you don’t get the dull daily hum drum of mediocrity’ It’s either spellbindingly beautiful or really quite desperate!
When I was carrying all our water into the house in 19 litre containers, and scrimping every drop, it was a challenge, especially on my back, (lugging it down my friends stairs after filling up in her bathroom, thanks Darcy and Becky!) but it made every drop precious. I found myself gloating when discovered three full hot water bottles in our cupboard, what could I use the water for? This morning the tap produced water, as we have a milder day, and it felt quite decadant to just use what ever we needed!