Thursday, 6 November 2008

Moonroot and Roots

[The photo shows part of a wrought iron gate in the garden of my grandparent's house in Essex]

Driving back to Wales from Essex, I took a bit of a nostalgic detour for the first part of my journey. From Maldon, Woodham Mortimer, through Danbury (where I first laid eyes on T when he was best man at Kevin and Ann's wedding), on to Great Baddow, where T and I first lived together. From there via Galleywood (where my cousin still lives) I cut across the common to Margaretting, down Maldon Road where my grandparents lived when I was young, past Margaretting school where my father went as a child and on to Ingatestone where I and my siblings went to school. From Ingatestone to Mountnessing with its distinctive windmill and so many childhood memories, before finally joining the A12, M25, M4 and back to Wales.

From weatherboard, pargetting and thatch houses to stone and slate cottages. From flat open fields and the big skies that inspired the likes of John Constable, to hills, valleys, waterfalls. From meandering lazy willow-lined rivers to tumbling trout streams. From a land of flint and clay to one of slate and clay.

I now call Wales home, but really, is it? I have lived here now for eight years and in that time I've made a conscious effort to really put down roots. Roots are very important to us home-loving Cancerians! But I sometimes wonder if I really have roots anywhere.

I was born and raised in Essex, as were my parents. But every one of my grandparents had come to Essex from elsewhere, their families originally from London, Somerset, Wales, Scotland, France. So I'm only second-generation Essex. Compare this with my neighbour from a farm just up the road from Halfway-Up-A-Hill. His family have lived on and farmed that same piece of land for eight hundred years. Eight. Hundred. Years. I find that continuity extraordinary. And I have been here in Wales only eight years! How can I possibly call it home?

I also lived in Australia for eighteen months, where I made a conscious effort not to put down roots as I knew we wouldn't be staying (very hard as rooting seems to be my default setting), yet it was still a place I came to love. I feel connections still to Melbourne, to Essex, and now to Wales.

So where is home? They say that home is where the heart is, but I find my heart scattered all over the place. I have dear ones in Essex, in London, in Kent, in Somerset, in Wales, in Australia, in America. They all have pieces of my heart... And now T has gone, is my heart still here at Halfway-Up-A-Hill?

Actually, it is becoming clear that whatever happens, I will have to move on from Halfway-Up-A-Hill. Without T, in the long run I will not be able to manage here on my own, either financially or practically. Sure, there will be a divorce settlement and T will provide for me financially, but it will not be practical to stay here. And perhaps a new start, new surroundings would be healthy. But where should I go? I think I shall probably stay in Wales, given that I have begun to feel part of the community here. But actually, in some respects, the world is my oyster. I could settle in Wales, or decide to explore Costa Rica. I could dig in for the long haul or pack a few belongings in a knapsack and follow my feet to wherever. Do I in fact, even need roots in one place?

As with most of my life at the moment, there seem to be more questions than answers. But at least that means that there are also choices, and opportunities, and the chance to start over. Which can't be bad.


Reya Mellicker said...

It's always good to ask a lot of questions, at least I think so. It opens the mind and heart to many possibilities.

Reading about your tour on your way back "home" I imagined you gathering all the energy that you'd put into your marriage back into your own heart.

Halfway Up the Hill is a beautiful place, full of memories and energetic impressions. I'm happy you'll move on from there, get a fresh start on your new life.

Where will you decide to go? I know you'll think it through carefully and make the best decision possible.

I salute you and love you, dear friend. Onwards & upwards!

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Honey Bear,

After I was widowed, I knew that I could no longer live in the house that Rick and I had built together. I could not afford it financially or emotionally. I realized that a move was part of my healing and the stepping fully again into the world.

I gave myself two full years to visit sites all over North America. And after much looking, listening and tasting of air and water, I came home to the Twin Cities, nestled on the banks of the Upper Mississippi River.

I have found it a good thing to take the time to find the land that is calling one home with deep longing and love beyond all reason.

I am confident that your place has already begun to call you to its welcoming arms.

May we all dare to dwell in beauty, balance and delight.

aims said...

Perhaps until you do leave - is it possible to take in a lodger of some sort to help out with the finances and the doings around the house?

I have to tell you though that I do know exactly what you mean.

For the first time ever I have thought about leaving The Barn and moving away. I think it is because of losing Dolly. I have never dreamed of living anywhere but here - yet suddenly I feel differently.

Everyone says time heals. Yet the question is really - and always - how much time? When?

Know you are in my thoughts dear one.

And as others have said - perhaps a new life in a new place is what will heal you. I certainly don't have the answers.

deborahoak said...

As someone who also is priestess of place, who puts down roots and tends to the home like a temple, I understand how unsettling it must be to not know where your roots will next go down. Someplace is out there...and I am imagining it starting to call to you. And I am imagining that ginger jar in it, with the sun hitting it.

Griffin said...

What you're doing is amazing for a Cancerian! The archetype says that Cancerians don't like to let go once they've got a hold - yet here you are with a little relaxing of the pincers.

I lived in Sussex for most of my life, tho' I was born in Surrey. I have only been in Loughborough since 2000 and altho' I have made friends here and in Nottingham, still... I long for Sussex.

Home as a concept is where you want it to be. I'm not sure it's where your friends are, but where you feel it is. That said, you may feel that it is where your friends are... confused, moi?!

Moonroot said...

Thank you all for your wise words and advice.

I think writing this piece has turned out to be much more therapeutic than I expected when I first sat down at the computer! I am now thinking of all the wide possibilities of where I could go, what I could do. And I feel like you are all beside me, helping me on that journey. Thank you!

Zahara Celestial said...

I see that on your main blog page you've got Transition town down. Like you I am in transition ~ life is transition. And I love that the Transition Town project ~ projects and focuses on what can be, possibilities and potentials. I sometimes find it hard to focus on growth ~ that which is life afirming. I have cancer in moon and have lived in my flat for over 10 years. and like you I am finding myself asking ~ Where to now?...I don't know. With who...I don't know. Earning a Living doing what I don't know. The Fool card and Page tarot come to do the Wheel of Fortune, Justice and the World. Sometimes I think how can my heart be this full? And it is living that is fullness. Abundance. The light that shines in the Dark sun as well as the Golden Sun. I would love to be able to live in the moment.
Goddess Blessings to my friends ~ that includes you my friend ~ who are sharing this journey with me. Thank you for your sharing.Goddess Blessings. Dragonfly.

Leanne said...

dear dear Moonroot, just follow your heart and your feet, they will take you wwhere you need to go.

So many placesnames in your post ring memory bells with me, for that is close to where I came from, and where my sister still lives. maldon and danbury stir memories of my beloved late dad, of happy weekends sailing his boat along that coast.

I followed my heart and feet west to somerset. My partners feet led him elsewhere and now this week, i am moving again, across the close at hand border into Dorset. My new start, my new adventure. I am just a few months ahead of you, your answers will come clear to you soon... and I send you blessings as you seek yuor answers

leanne x

aromatic said...

moonroot.. I think everything has already been said that could be said regarding moving on... so their is little I can add.. except things will fall into place, life has a habit of taking a natural course.. and you will in time find your way.
Just to let you know that whatever you decide to do you will be in our hearts...
Love and Blessings, Jane xxx

Anonymous said...

Could you not consider turning your home to new purpose, in much the same way as your own life? For example, depending on how much space you have, you could consider setting up as a B&B or simply take in the occasional paying guest from elsewhere in the world keen to explore your part of Wales, or take some time out in the countryside.

I really feel for you, and I do think it is harder to cope with change, especially seismic change, as we get older. But it is an illusion to think change happens less when we get past, say, our 20s. Our final years, as old people assuming we get that far, are probably going to be the most rapidly changing, both inwardly in terms of health and externally in terms of the world, our place in it, our relationships.

I treat our home in much the same way as you, finding it important to become rooted and to nurture the very soil of place, to feed the land of our back garden. And I take great pleasure from watching as it becomes more and more alive, and as our hens run around the place adding colour and zest to even the dullest of days. I can't imagine what I'd do if all that went, but I know if it did, I wouldn't be the first or last to deal with it and neither are you. From what I read, you have a priceless, rich seam of support from friends and family to draw upon. With friends and family and faith, you're guaranteed a journey that will ultimately reward even if it is traumatic along the way. Blessed be.