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– Slow living

April 5, 2013

monkey and sofia blog slow living headermonkey and sofia blog slow living

After three weeks of end to end heavy rain everyone here has been called upon to dig deep and draw on their own personal resolve to survive the onslaught.  As I’ve mentioned, there’s no weather in these parts which can be taken lightly, even rain is extreme.  Last Sunday there was a full twenty four hours of heavy rain, enlivened by a cracking thunder and hail storm in the middle of the night.  Even the hardiest of souls were wringing their hands and looking worried as streams of water coursed down the hillsides and gushed along the roadside gullies under leaden skies.  It’s small wonder, when confronted by a drenching just getting for the door of the house to the car, almost everyone opts to stay indoors, stoke up the fire and think of all those outdoor jobs waiting to be done.  I think it might be called enforced slowing down.  Even the teams of men who come to the hillside in the local authority Landrovers to brush cut the firebreaks sit hunched behind steamed up windows unable to get outside.

In a way it can be a pleasure for us to be forced indoors, to be able to think of things other than practical matters and enjoy the luxury of living slowly.  Time to think, read books and write letters.  Obviously, giving into severe weather conditions wouldn’t have been an option if we weren’t here on our hillside but beavering away in the city as we used to, protected from the elements in warm, bright offices.  Being here, indoors behind our rain-streaked windows with clouds scooting past, I wondered if it would be possible for us to reconnect with that world, would it be too alien now.  I know that when we set out I used to worry about becoming so disconnected, that it would be impossible for me to retrace my steps back to our old life and I feel as if I left a mental trail of breadcrumbs back to the city.  I haven’t thought about that in ages, maybe its rainy days like these, when life seems to pause, which give random thoughts a chance to surface.  I can remember well trying to keep one foot in that other place, not actually disconnecting so that no break actually happened because, like everyone else, I wanted to think that any door, even one into the past, wasn’t closed to me.

But recently, and only recently, I’ve realised that decisions about life have to be made.  Choices, one thing or another, and amazingly it’s taken me my whole life until now, to realise that it’s acceptable not to do something, to say no.  With this discovery came to realisation that I was free to set out my stall with all the things, values, ideas which what mattered to me, it’s just so strange that it should take me so long.

It was while I was still feeling the newness of this discovery that I saw a leaflet from a cultural organisation in London about a special weekend of activities with a programme of performances, discussions and events.  And apart from the excessively energetic language: ‘ground-breaking’ ‘thought provoking’ ‘award-winning’ ‘critically acclaimed’  ‘compelling’ ‘powerful’, or maybe it was because the whole thing seemed so unnecessarily breathless and alien that it felt weird, and sort of bobbed along next to my revelation about saying no to things.  Maybe the reason it had been impossible for me to decide on my own personal values was because I had been surrounded by all this ‘noise’ which acted as an invasive interruption.

Perhaps because city life is so distant from nature’s quiet soothing rhythms it makes its own beat which sounds strident, bullying, insistent and hard to ignore.  It’s hard to imagine but who would have known that revelations about personal values and clarity on life’s important things could have settled around me now in the same way that the sunlight appears here after the intense greyness of the endless rain.  All very odd, but there we are, it seems we can understand or discover important things without all the drama and drum banging noisiness of living in the city.

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