I wrote this two days after the beginning of the first lockdown in the UK (can you believe that’s almost two years ago?). I didn’t share it at the time – I think I thought it was a bit silly – but lately there is such a profound sadness in me about the land and about the way we live. Some anger, too.
Many people now long to return to a simpler way of life. Long for the freedom of having a piece of land on which they can grow their own food and live a healthier life more in tune with the Earth. Long for hard work of a different kind, that doesn’t entail endless hours in an office or selling one’s soul to put food on the table.
But where is the land? The land is owned by wealthy landowners. The land is bought up by developers for profit. More and more houses are second homes and holiday cottages, when so many who would want it are with no home at all. To own a house and land enough to sustain a small family is beyond the reach of most.
Ben and I have almost constant conversations about the unbelievable strength and courage it takes today to simply live a simple life.
Anyway, I hope this touches you in some way.
Is the world crumbling?
It’s hard to tell.
But even if it is, I think it’s ok.
My parents have ordered more fat balls from The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, so even if the world crumbles and even if we crumble too, it will all go on with the sound of birdsong in our ears.
And I think I can basically cope with anything so long as the birds are singing.
We are the lucky ones.
When this is over, if it doesn’t all crumble, that is, we should make sure that everyone has a little patch of land to work and tend and a bird feeder and fat balls. Life would be simple and good.
What have we done?
Love and courage,
I live in Sedona, Arizona, and we are expecting snow tonight and tomorrow. I pondered whether or not to make a trip to the market for some supplies, and then I realized that the birds and chipmonks could use more seed, especially with the cold front coming in. I bought sunflower seeds and packages of unsalted peanuts in the shell, and put them out for the grateful creatures. I am grateful to them as well, for they bring hours of pleasure to me and my two cats who love to watch them through the window. When I read your email, you took my pleasure in birdwatching (and feeding) to a new dimension. “And I think I can basically cope with anything so long as the birds are singing.” That’s so poetic, and so true. It reminds me of Emily Dickenson’s poem. So filled with hope, and back to the basics that endure the test of time: bird songs.
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
Oh, Summer! What a very different part of the world you live in! I love to think of you over there, so far away yet also here with me. Like you, watching the birds is one of my greatest pleasures and I’m sure they are so grateful for the additional winter food you’re providing for them. I hadn’t read that Emily Dickinson poem, but it brought tears to my eyes. So very beautiful – thank you for sharing it. I’m so happy to know this lifted your pleasure of bird watching and feeding to new heights!
Hi Leah, I resonate so much with this, with so much of all you share. It all hurts, saddens and scares me. Thanks always for your sensitive soul and all you share. xoxo
Oh Nicole, you too. I genuinely feel so much happiness and warmth when I think of you and know you are out there in the world being your tender, wonderful self. It is not easy to see all that is going on. Lots of love to you xxxxxx
Hi Leah, beautiful crocus! I never heard of a fat ball:)
Yes, the first crocus in the garden! Ohhhh, maybe they are a thing we just have here? 🙂
Christine Noble Seller
Leah, I think we use the name suet cakes in Canada, for fat balls, to feed birds. Our first spring wildflowers came up last week (it was 16C one day!) and then were covered in a snow blanket this week. All very typical for our area. An umbrella is helpful when the rain melts the snow covered trees and snow plops down on your head! Enjoying a leisurely re-read of your blogs today and catching up. Much love Xxx
Oh wow, lovely to think of your first wildflowers showing their faces, even if only briefly before being covered again in a snow blanket! Hee hee, can just imagine the melting snow plopping down unexpectedly on your head – and running down your neck – eek! xx