And life grows around grief, Spring 2018

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Our last roll of film with pictures of Jella.




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And this balloon we watched on the beach, while we were waiting between visiting hours to see Jella at the vets, not knowing whether she would survive. Turned out she lived for 3 years.











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A year living on one bit of land. A year getting to know and experience the sensory magic of the ecosystem we've barged into. A year watching the sunset travelling along the horizon with the changing of the seasons, the following moon dancing its path behind. The freshly dug swales filling with rain and kitchen grey-water. The intense blossoming of fruit trees. The arrival of the sand-martins. The quiet brown-ing of summer. The goldfinches feeding on the thistle seeds. The sigh-ingly green-ing of autumn. The heavy falling of fruit. The fierce purple and red-ing of the plum, apple, pear leaves. And the screamingly joyful green-ing of spring. 





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Trying to talk to the owl. Spotting the red squirrel from the toilet. The very occasional falcon that bobs effortlessly over and around trees, moving so fast down the valley you're not sure you even saw it. The snuffled up earth of the never seen wild boar of the night before. The creeping praying mantis and the giant dragonflies, that seem almost as curious about us as we are about them.  





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As a new friend for Aldous, we brought home a wild beast of a stray kitten that did 360s around the cat cage like one of those motorbike stunts, his massive blue eyes screaming, 'What the actual fuck where am I?!'. Day 2 he climbed the curtains to hide from us and meowed all day and all night. Day 3, exhausted from all the meowing, he surrendered to some strokes and a warm lap and on day 4 Ermine cuddled up to his new brother Aldous. Purrrrrrrfect.





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What to say about grief, how it shapes and changes, about its endlessly differing layers, its unpredictable choice of moment to burst into a day. How when it arrives you can do nothing but be with it entirely, whole-body. Its way of throwing you back into nothingness. And how in that way, and so many others, it's also a gift. Emerging, fresh each time, from that cacoon of sadness in which everything distinct, graspable, had dissolved. What was before, re-formed. 





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Working out how to stretch 25m of welded mesh fencing when everyone on youtube does it with a tractor...





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Shit becomes compost and piss, liquid fertiliser. The plants grow, we eat the plants, we get energy. If we flush our excrement-energy to be taken somewhere other, away, we have to bring in energy to keep the soil energy topped up. Or we keep it all where it came from. The land feeds us and we feed the land. And in a way we never expected from composted shit, there's something deeply rewarding, grounding, about living out our place within that cycle.





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Another little abandoned munchkin entered our lives. Sol, after the Portuguese word for sun. Part terrier, part all sorts. Smart, and having survived her short life so far seemingly undamaged, she brightens the dynamics of the dog pack, and our lives, with some of that joyful confidence that had left with Jella.





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An Angus Fulton ash + steel table. Commissions welcome!





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Over and over the land reminds us that all death feeds life. It teaches us about perseverance; The tall, twisted cork oaks whose bark, blackened up one side, show the only sign that a fire passed through 5 years ago. The budding young trees, survived last summer's drought and this winter's frosts. The wild flower seeds, that have waited in the soil and avoided mice, ants, rot. They follow some perfect, mysterious signal, their still, solid forms suddenly moving, becoming something else entirely. They fill the patches, where last summer we'd cut back the years of dry brambles, with thick green: grasses, clover, vetch, wild pea, thistle.





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And the old oaks they keep being there, solid, wise. Walking amongst them, breathing in, and out, in, out. The same air as the trees, the birds, the beetles in the bark, the ants on our feet. We're joined by the air in the space between us and that space feels tangible, where we end and the forest begins, less certain.





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you win some, you lose some




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'Were it not for the ever-present possibility of death, beings would not need to be possessed by the urge to evolve, to go on existing... Aliveness must be able to fail if it is to be truly alive. Only because of death does life become creative.' Andreas Weber





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