Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair —Khalil Gibran
It’s been almost eight weeks since we moved into the woods. I am surrounded by dirt, pipes, trenches, building supplies, and tools, but mostly I am surrounded by trees! And truly surrounded; we cleared only what we had to in order to make the footprint for the house, so from every vantage point and through every window, we see green. It’s spectacular.
When the pandemic went into full swing last year, my work life changed greatly. One of the transitions I made with my extra time, was to awaken with the sun rather than an alarm. I am self employed so I determine my start time, and as I have always been a morning person it wasn’t a huge leap to waken more naturally. A year later, I now awaken to the sun streaming through large glass windows, to birdsong, and to trees. It’s quiet and peace filled, serene and the air smells so amazing; clean and fresh, and still. I am in love with my surroundings.
Because little has been done to this particular piece of land, it is still a very wild and organic place for the trees to grow. They are sharing tight quarters, different types and varying heights, all vying for their place in the sun. I am just learning to identify what is actually growing here and the more I learn, the more grateful I am for trees. They represent some of the best of what the planet has to offer and will be here long after I am gone (if logging doesn’t take them all); I take comfort in that. Trees give so much and take so very little. They are the perfect place for my hammock, filling me up on days when I am feeling depleted and defeated. They provide soil and water conservation, clean air, shade, medicine, solace, wind break, they store carbon, moderate our local climate, and have the most positive effect on my mental health. I simply LOVE trees. In The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben makes the case that the forest is a social network, much like human families and in his newest book, The Heartbeat of Trees, he provides even more scientific evidence around our deep connection to the natural world. I am falling in love with rural living and this natural place I now call home.
In terms of inside living, there is still plenty to do, 15 months into the build. We continue to shower outside by the well, but hot running water and in particular clean drinking water is arriving very soon. Our rainwater system is ready to go, just working on a few more plumbing connections. This is more than can be said for many of our Canadian Indigenous communities, who have been without clean drinking water for years; you will not here me complain about waiting a few weeks. Our bathroom is now tiled and will soon have our toilet in place, so we will go from an outdoor portable toilet to an indoor portable toilet. Not a huge difference in facilities but we won’t have to use our flashlight to find our way or spot bears in the dark on route to the bathroom. Some interior finishing still to do, door and baseboard trim, some painting, plumbing fixtures, a few lights, but nothing that interferes with what matters most; cooking and sharing food, reading, meditating, writing, long walks, and simply being; this place is conducive to that, being rather than doing; the perfect shade of living.