Slow Time


Every now and then things happen that allow me to value the lifestyle that we have created for ourselves, the choices that we have made that led to us living in the hills, living in the slow lane.

It doesn’t always feel as though we are living in the slow lane because we have so much to do and of course I know that we are not the only ones who feel overwhelmed by the everyday list of things to do. It’s just that having been away for quite some time (two months in Portugal but that’s another story) when we returned home the list of jobs to finish seemed as though it would never end. We sometimes go through periods of regretting our choices because we think that we will never finish all the projects that are a part of this way of life. And that we could have made different choices that would have lead to an easier day to day existence with a little more comfort.

And then we have times when we remember why we chose this lifestyle. Last week we had both experiences, the overwhelming-ness came first and then the positives started to re-emerge.

We decided to make things feel more manageable by concentrating on a few priorities & were working through the week’s jobs, making good progress helped in large part by the glorious weather, focusing on outside work like clearing our yard of building rubble and emptying our domestic rubbish storage area. We don’t have a domestic waste service up in the hills so our system is to compost and recycle what we can as we go along, storing the waste and other recyclables in a dry area for large runs to the nearest waste facility. We also had to restock our woodpile with dry firewood and go to the well to restock our water containers with drinking and cooking water.  The good weather made all these jobs much easier and our heads were coming into a more positive and relaxed frame of mind as we were making good progress.

On each these varied runs we met different people, it’s not unusual for country people to chat about the weather or some such small talk so of course we had the usual small talk. On two occasions though we both happily prolonged the chats by well over an hour – sometimes you get a feeling that ending the exchange at the normal point just isn’t right. It’s not something that you can put your finger on and it’s not something that we even signaled to each other, it was just a feeling that the person maybe needed a longer connection, they weren’t in a rush and neither were we. We could have been, we had plenty to do however we were also enjoying the connection.

Both people seemed to live solitary lives and were really interesting to chat with. We easily found plenty of common ground and exchanged lots information and stories, even philosophies. We learnt more about the hill that we live on, stories about families who lived up here back when the hill was more heavily populated, in the days when life was even harder and not everyone had access to motorised transport. We talked about how people can be more isolated now than then, despite or because of our “easier” lives. Both conversations, in different ways, touched on how many people don’t spend much time outdoors, don’t talk enough to other people, don’t notice the small things like how the cuckoo has landed in some places and is getting rare in others. These conversations were healing for us, allowing space to open within ourselves.

We were reminded of the first occasion that we spent some time on this hill before the decision was made to buy the land. We had come to spend some time up here feeling the place, trying to get to know it a little bit to see if we felt comfortable here on the land. One of the neighbours up here had seen our strange car and drove up to just check on what we doing up here, knowing that the owner wasn’t around. He wasn’t nosy or intrusive, he just drove past where we had left our car parked, went to check on his cattle in a neighbouring field and slowly drove along the bothrin meeting us as we walked back from a ramble further up the hill. We stopped to chat, knowing that he might be curious about a strange car being parked in a remote rural area. We noted that he turned off the engine of his noisy jeep and he chatted away, finding out about us easily in a non-nosey way, we weren’t hiding anything and told him that we were considering buying the land.  We liked how he told us about the other people who lived up this way, he had a lovely non-judgemental way about him and an easiness that you rarely find in city folk. It was the first of many chats we have had in these lanes with our neighbours, who all turn off the engines, as we have learnt to do, so that we can hear each other easily and also hear the sounds of the hill around us as we chat.

So even in the busyness of loading and unloading trailers, running here, there and everywhere this week, we had clear reminders of what brought us to this hill, why we still come back to it.
As to the overwhelming list of things to do? Well, it’s still overwhelming however I have also remembered that we have both done many things in our lives that have surprised us, that we never thought we could do, both before we met and since we decided to share our lives.

We’ll manage, it may not go according to plan, somethings will work out, some won’t. In fact it may be even better than we planned – we often find that it is!


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