It’s over 3 months since I last wrote on my blog – not good! We had a wonderful summer in the woods which extended into October with a great 3-day course for Grounded Ecotherapy – a group from London. Looking back, one of the main highlights was the two beautiful full moons in September and October and how the kind summer weather just seemed to keep going.
Now I am prompted to write, having visited the woodland workshop to find the tarpaulin roof blown half away. In previous years a group of volunteers has helped me remove the large tarp and replace it with a smaller one just over the crucial bits in the middle of the workshop. Last winter (20010/11) we left the tarp up, and despite the frost and snow, everything survived OK. I am now contemplating whether I have been unlucky with it blowing off this week or whether I was very lucky that it survived last winter. I think probably the latter.
There’s lots of interesting stuff on TV and Radio4 at the moment. The bunch of British teenagers staying with the Amish was quite inspiring. In particular the lad from London who seemed to lead a pretty aimless life in a hostel at home, who struck up a really good relationship with their Amish host and within a few days really became involved in the constructive lifestyle and the hard work. On the radio this morning a family spent a week living a stone-age lifestyle in Denmark and as each day progressed, their children steadily warmed to the experience of basic, yet constructive living. It did remind me of a week on one of our courses only we have all the good aspects (open fires, baking bread, fulfilling activities, good company, simplicity) but manage to avoid nearly all the bad bits (uncomfortable clothing and bedding, wet footwear, no hot cuppas).
Over the last few decades we have become complacent about our wealthy western lifestyles and we need to return to a closer relationship with the basic aspects of our lives. We have to get away from investing money to enable us to buy what we want. We need to invest effort and enthusiasm, which delivers far more fulfilling rewards. I realise that my tarpaulin blowing down is telling me the same message. It has made me realise that the annual ceremony of packing up the workshop for the winter is a valuable part of the cycles of the year. We’ll get up there on Saturday and put the workshop to rest for the winter properly. Next spring will give us the occasion to rethink how it should be resurrected and nudge us to make all the little improvements that are needed.