Thursday 20 October 2011

Where we live, and where we are leaving

This is where we have lived for three years, a mobile home in the middle of a wood in South Devon. We arrived as a family of six, fresh from our 18 foot yurt on Dartmoor, and before that our five bedroom house in North Devon!
In just under two weeks we will leave as a family of five for a two month respite in a house, courtesy of some lovely friends, before moving onto our own piece of woodland nearby; this time in an eclectic blend of a dwelling..part timber, part caravan, part bender. The first two parts of the eclectic blend are already in place, and the third part, the bender, will be built when Hugh returns from a ten day wilderness survival quest in the Pyrenees. I will be busy harvesting hazel poles in the meantime and chopping firewood, lots and lots and lots. Ready for a hungry woodburner and a cosy home.

It's so strange to think about leaving, my heart feels settled here like nowhere else. We have very kindly been allowed to live here by some more lovely friends, well past our expected  stay of six months, and for me it will be hard to go, I have felt so close to life here, close to my family, close to the earth. Part of the surging swell of the year's cycle.

Life is lived close to the weather, we feel the spiky frosts through the thin walls and huddle close to the fire in woollen long john's,  snuggle deep under the blankets for stories and hot chocolate. We know the winter so thoroughly, the dazzling ice ferns painted on our windows, the ice in the water pipes. We live the winter.

Life is lived close to the sunny open easy summer days, pattering barefoot, picking lettuce,  a jay noisily flustering away among the trees, a precious blue feather caught in the ferns. The sun soaks us, fills us until we drift away into the cool trees quiet in the sun, dappled and entrancing. A golden bug, a shimmering damsel fly, the flutter of wings among the flowers. We live the summer,

Life is lived among the scents of May, the ringing of the bluest fairy bells, the promise of the unfurling burgeoning wood, spring swirls around us, dances with us, spins us around in the dizzying energy of new life, eggs crack among the leaves. We live the spring.

And we live autumn now, the settling down grumbling surge of the earth shifting under its leaf mantle, gathering, enfolding, hurrying to rest before the winter chills. Madcapping squirrels and their  autumn carnival,  chestnuts cracking in  the fire,  

We feel the change of the earth, the movement of the seasons here. We cannot escape the chills and changes, the mud and the hurried night trip outside in sheets of rain. We live in a very small space but have many acres of trees around us....outside happens alot.

Every corner of the wood, every corner of our home, holds a memory, an occasion, the skeleton of a den, a forgotten birthday song, a whispered secret, a lilting lullaby. Laughings, cryings, bakings, makings, firewood foragings, tree scrambling days, we have lived so much here. This wood has held so many tears and ragings so much loving and sighing, so much life in all its tragic and majestic complexity, in  all its magnificent splendour. The flow of life, which moves on.. and on, and with us and through us and never ends.
And so we will move on.


  1. No wonder you are so attached to this place. It looks like a woodland paradise and so good to see kids out feeling the outdoors instead of inside in front of a screen. The garden in the top photo looks magical. I've always been more magnetically drawn to little clearings in the woods like these than anywhere else, even the sea.

    Enjoy your little house holiday for the next two months; don't let the flush toilet, etc., spoil you too much!

  2. How beautiful, what a wonderful place! We dreamed for years of finding somewhere like this to settle down, but for now we are content to try out different things and see what materialises for us :) We won't be massively far from you now either - near another famous moor!

    I hope you settle into your new home and adjust to its rhythms xx

  3. Thanks Laurel, funny I was worried about getting complacent about house living and being reluctant to return to the January, time will tell!
    Thanks earthly treasures, think I've worked out which moor, practically near neighbours, how exciting.

  4. Hi Henrietta,
    Wow your house looks like a dream come true... and I'm sure the new one will be equally magical. What an exciting adventure lies ahead of you all, I can't wait to read all about how things progress at the new site.
    When my husband and I first met we spoke of our dream to live in the woods. Though it has yet to come about, I trust that one day it will!
    Take care and good luck with the move.

  5. Thankyou, whispering earth, just keep visualizing what you want.. and one day it will come true! It does work.

  6. Can't wait to see pictures of the new place!

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