Metamorphosis

The last week or so has been like travelling through a dream. I am walking past the various homes we have imagined in the last year, long grass snagging my feet to which I pay little attention. I look backwards through a field. Clouds are grey, wind is pushing at my left temple, hair blows across my face. I turn my head into the wind once more but the wind has turned into a soft, warm breeze. The scene has changed. The field is gone. Instead there is a cottage. Roses climb over the front door, sunlight falls in shafts through the trees across the garden.

We waited and waited on the land. It looks like we have exhausted all the possibilities. It has all come down to the overage. This is a covenant with several beneficiaries, many of whom are charitable organisations. It states in very ambiguous language that if more than one dwelling, or perhaps if one dwelling with a larger footprint than the current house is built, then we would have 60 days to pay 30% of the increase in the value of the land. We could possibly get a figure on what that would be; almost certainly within the tens of thousands. But no one except the beneficiaries can tell us if our plans would trigger it. The ones we’ve never actually heard from at all, despite having asked several things of them. We tried surveyors; we tried solicitors. These types of case are really unpredictable if they go to court. And there’s no way we want to go to court. So we kept on waiting. Maybe they would respond.

And then we saw Rose Cottage. It’s not far from the land; a more sheltered spot with weeping willow and birch in the garden and roses around the door (not so much in February actually, but a front garden full of snowdrops). It has the kitchen/dining/living space we hoped for. And some really horrible carpets. Surely this can’t be ours? Seems like maybe it can.

On one hand, I don’t want to let the dream of the land and a self-build go. On the other, I know things change. Maybe when the kids are grown we’ll build a little hut in a field. Or maybe we will keep living this dream; it’s a good one. It’s not something we need to know. We have found contentment living in a little rented house. Now we need to take that with us into the next steps of this adventure.

Monsters seem more real when you’re alone.

We exchanged on our old house. Next we move. No turning back. We are yet to complete on the purchase of the land; some of the legal issues involve a committee of trustees which is not something that is likely to be super speedy and efficient. Just a bit more waiting. That’s ok, waiting is good practice.

We also need to do a bit more thinking. It felt like we were gaining momentum. There’s a guy in the self build world who we were talking to, thinking we would work together, getting excited. It’s really sad. He and his family experienced a tradegy earlier this year. It takes a certain amount of time to heal and grieve and there just hasn’t been enough of that yet. My heart is hurting for them. I’m sad for us too.

What we want to do is to build a home that reflects us, and also one that will help us tread gently on the earth which we have been given to take care of. I think when it describes in Genesis the way God gave the man the garden to tend and keep it is literally true that he should care for the ground that he was given. I also think that is a metaphor for the way in which the man was to care for and look after his wife. Ben has followed this pattern with love, grace and beauty. Never more so than since we discovered my pregnancy last year. His burden has been heavy but he has cared for us and loved us gently and completely. A house he builds will embody that spirit. It is where I want to be. It will also care for the earth better than our current home. I think it is true to say that as humans we have not done a good job of caring for the earth. It can seem like there’s nothing we can do. We want to do what we can and to utilise the wealth of alternative techniques and knowledge around the construction of our home. It was exciting to find someone who wanted to work with us who felt the same way, saw our vision through the same lenses we look through. It feels sad that we won’t be able to take that journey as closely as we thought. I also understand and respect his decision. Family first. Always. Just like Ben.

Red was just explaining to me how he doesn’t like to go downstairs by himself. Somehow when you’re alone monsters seem a bit more real. I see monsters quite often, but Ben is great at seeing them a different way. Just another puzzle, use your brain and you’ll find a way. We will find the way.