How ironic that we are able to walk to school, now that we have moved out of the woods for a spell. Bundling everyone in the car every morning, and lunch, and sometimes afternoon too, felt so wrong. Stuffing into car seats, sealed in our box, the rising sun and autumn berries flashed by at 50 mph and we observed it fleetingly through our windows..high speed cinema.
Now we are staying in a house only a mile from school and we walk at least one way, Freddie cycles both.
When people ask me what it's like living in a house, the first thing I always say is 'we can walk to school now' even though it doesn't answer the question. It feels like such a treat.
It takes about half an hour to wander through the fields and pause to talk to the robin on the gate post or admire the strings of blood red bryony draped in the hedgerows. Somehow I forget to rush so much in the fields wreathed in skeins of silver mist, as we squish our boots through the mud and pretend to be dragons and whoosh our fiery breath at each other.
I am so grateful for this brief time when we live close enough to the school for a beautiful walk in. It has certainly made me evaluate the amount of car use in our family.
When we move our wood there will be more questions to answer and challenges to overcome, about our reliance on fossil fuels in general. Is there any point in going off grid and using a washboard and mangle (which we will be doing) and planning bike powered blenders and laptops if we are still guzzling gallons of diesel every week?
Nope. Well a bit I suppose, but.....
We've just gone down to one car, yes we did, gulp, have two...school runs, work needs, I know we all have our excuses, ours are as weedy as everyone else's. But the whole car thing, unless we live in a town, how can we not have one? Home educate? Bulk food delivery? No social visits or classes, or only those on a bus route?
The questions are evolving with the answers, but I know that we all feel so much better one car down. It's sociable, I've been hopping in more friendly cars of late; it stops me dashing around, because I simply can't, it reduces choice..sometimes I just can't go, and that's fine. We're getting more exercise as a family, we're saving money, not only on fuel, but on food because I'm not able to just pop out so much, and impulse buy. And we're using less diesel, yay!
But it is slow. I'm quite a quick person and naturally like everything to happen immediately, and its been a real lesson for me, that our crazy fast paced world is simply unsustainable, both in environmental and human terms. Really, our bodies and brains are not made to travel so fast are they?
Meanwhile our walk to school is simply beautiful, we travel at human speed and can stop whenever we like to examine the first frost crystals of the year.
There were frost crystals on this post, really!
What does responsible car use mean to you? Would you like to slow down, tell me about it!