During a conversation this weekend with our llama-loving friends, Sue asked us if we were really planning to sell our place here and move to England. “Of course we are” I said, wondering why she might think otherwise. She pointed out that, even though we have bought a house in Derby, we seem to have done nothing about selling any llamas, or about selling this house. And that everything we write on the blog seems to be about how lovely our life here is. Clearly it seems hard to believe that we would want to be giving up something that makes us so happy.
She has a point. It is something I have been asking myself recently. Every time I take the dogs for a walk, and stop a while to admire our land from different perspectives, I am struck anew by what a jolie propriété it is. There is something about the way our gathering of whimsically-shaped fields cluster within this sheltered valley that feels somehow just right. It feels sort of special – so much more than just a few parcels of land. It is land with a heart.
I remember our first visit here in November 2008 when, despite the snow and the fog and the cold, dingy winteriness enveloping the landscape in a slushy hush, we had both had a sense of “Aha!” as we followed the estate agent down the narrow tree-lined lane to arrive at the gates of this secluded little house. Despite the lack of functioning basic amenities, and the poor state of the flooded and nettle-strewn land, we recognized the house of our dreams. Dreams of calm and solitude. Dreams of land to be worked and nurtured, where we could live with our family of animals in harmony with nature, in tune with the seasons, and at peace with ourselves. I remember standing alone beneath one of the huge winter-sleeping oak trees, leaning against the massive solidity of its trunk and feeling its deep, insistent energy flowing through me, like a call. I knew that we belonged in this place.
And after three years of living this dream, and of getting to know every inch of the land – each rock and bank, each dip and lee, every shrub and tree, each nightingaled oak and black-capped hazel, every creak of branch and burble of creek, each curtain of catkin and drift of cowslip – I love it just as much. In fact, I love it even more for knowing it so well. And, strangely, I feel as if it loves me back. I have stood many a time beneath what we have come to call the Fairy Oak, and pondered the ups and downs of Life, and have always had a sense that my thoughts were being listened to. And time spent thus amongst the trees is how I know what is in my heart, and what I need to do.
And, much as it breaks my heart to say it, I know the time has come for moving on, and once again for Letting Go. Another lesson from the Universe in how to love without attachment.
But love is a many splendoured thing, and here are a few pictures of our splendid reasons for moving on.