More bounty this week as harvest festival approaches in the village. Every bit of home grown food brings a thrill of independence. The flirt of being free from the system. The machine that churns the world up to give us stuff we didn't know we needed. My shelves bulge with half used spirulina, acai berry or supergreens but really there is no better superfood than good old broccoli.
It's harder work sorting your own food out but it's easier on the soul.
We are fortunate to be able to find a patch of land in which to try.
This week saw these beautiful blooms burst into a crazy, lolloping display on my table. All skirts and flouncy scrambling, they really showed it off before they faded. They're gone now but they seemed to enjoy the ride.
This one grew a little, smiled a lot, melted me over and over and I hope will continue to bloom. I love her so much that my heart feels that peculiar kind of pain, a tenderness that takes in all of life - her transience, that life might hurt her, that we should ever be parted, the weight of my love for her.
My oldest chicken is blooming after an illness. After standing around with her eyes shut, looking like this was her last day, she came back. Everyone thought she was at death's door. I was advised to wring her neck but emptying her crop and high powered vitamins seem to have turned her around. She is a wise chicken who's been around the block through three different homes. She is the boss and although a little motheaten and no longer laying, she manages her girls well.
My knitting grows line by line in snatched moments. It's at a snails pace but slowly the rows are racking up. I'm knitting a huge size as it's always a race between their growing and how fast I can knit.
And have I grown this week? I've tried. I've cranked out some new recipes, gone to bed early and hit the kale smoothies. Maybe I'm finally growing up!
I planned to go foraging on Sunday and, as never happens, I actually did what I said. We went to the field to collect a tonne of blackberries, rosehips, elderberrys and nettles. It was hard work. The kids abandoned me straight away and I was left with the babe strapped to my back, getting scratched and stumbling about in fox dens to get the goods. I couldn't even get a decent instagram picture because I didn't have enough hands, now that's a disaster. It felt like work and I thought about what this slow living lark is all about. Why not get some artisan jam at a farmer's market and enjoy the hunt of a good shopping trip. But then I started to get it.
It's simply another way to access silence. A sustained, simple task within natural surroundings brings a subtle, easily missed joy. Often our minds have no idea why we're doing what we're doing, but some part of us brings us back to this task or place and knows this is what we need. We are left a little calmer. Subliminally joyful in a way we can't even grasp with our thoughts.
Then came the processing, which took all day. More tiresome berry stripping, crushing, boiling and standing at a hot stove. The results though, fed my soul. A heart warming a big jug of delicious fresh nettle soup, a couple of jars of elderberry jam, blackberry jam tarts and eventually, probably after more foraging, some rose hip jelly. Two days of work for two days of food, slow living indeed.
You don't need to trapse round a field to capture this though. A simple bit of gardening or a pot of herbs on your windowsill can give you a hint of this mysterious pleasure. Ultimately it imparts wholesomeness, who doesn't need more of that. Feeding yourself for free from your own efforts feels like a good use of time. Bring on the hygge.
I would never, ever voluntarily get up to see the dawn. I'm a nightowl in every fibre of my body but when I'm forced to crawl from my bed with the babe I'm always swept away by the magic of the sky waking itself up. Waking from the groping dark to shape, dimension, space and light.
I'm seeing a western style of mindfulness seep into all kinds of activities these days. Stopping, taking time to breath is mainstream. Being in the moment is what we're all trying to work towards. But remembering (stuff from my head!) is also helping me this week.
Seven years ago I set out on a round the world trip. I travelled for 5 months and slowly unravelled to an earlier, deeper, rawer, more peaceful version of myself. The first step on that journey was to see that my emotions aren't real. I saw them racing across my mind like a timelapse sky. Storms building, releasing, blowing over. I saw the source of each eddy and swirl. Mostly it was related to eating chocolate the day before. Chocolate bar = wake up with darkness enveloping my mind. Who knew?
Last week on a day when the sky was stormy grey and blank I was gripped by negativity. Bad thoughts spinning under their own steam. Blame. Impatience. Feeling hard done by! I was being buffetted and so were those around me. And then...I remembered. I was able to connect to the memory of a time when I saw these storms for what they are. Pure energy, rising, being channelled, with a life of their own and yet no substance.
And the space around them opened. Just a wink. Hardly a wink. And I could see none of it was real. And they evaporated right there, like wisps of cirrus cleared after the storm. Memory gave me confidence to know that I once lived knowing this. Feeling sorry for yourself is the worst waste of energy, no matter what's going on.
The weather was following my thoughts, clearing. Breathing again. And then...a rainbow....