Coming home to Westacre


Westacre is the place where I live. It is much more than a house in the process of being renovated. It is much more than a garden. Westacre is a living piece of land where I am learning the art of co-creation with the Spirits of Place.

It has taken long enough, but finally I am letting myself fall in love with it. After nearly four years of living here, I feel like I’m finally coming home.

There are many reasons why it has taken me so long. I had the strong presence of my late mother-in-law to contend with. It still sometimes feels like she is looking over my shoulders, telling me how she would have done things differently. Berating me for letting her beautiful garden turn into a wilderness.

There is the spirit of the garden itself, with its own habits and ideas of how things once were and how the could be. It kept speaking to me of things that could be done, and things that really should be done, sometimes of things that need to be done right now. And me with so little time and energy to devote to it, feeling like I was failing.

But I have had the blessing of a month of relative rest, without the need to leave this place every day to work elsewhere. I’m also blessed with the presence of my dear friend Liz, who has come to live with us for a while. She too felt the presence of my late mother-in-law, but she came to Westacre with fresh eyes and helped me see its beauty and its abundant harvests.

So for the first time I am relaxing into my home. Finally, I am allowing Westacre to show me the way life could be. On Thursday, it showed me exactly the dream we are dreaming together.

This house is clearly too big for just the two of us. It was never meant to be that. It wants to be filled with people, all of them bringing something to the place to help it flourish.

I was working on the land, storing wood for the coming winter. All of it is local wood gathered for free, some of it brought here from just a few minutes away, most of it trees that have come down in the wind over the last couple of winters or branches that had to be cut back. As well as wheeling barrow loads between the wood processing part of the garden and the wood store, I mowed the lawn. A good six hours of physical work all together.

Liz is staying for a couple of months. As her contribution, she is cooking dinner for us every day. Her delight in using some of Westacre’s natural harvest is obvious. She made kitchen magic and produced damson jam, damson crumble with walnuts in the crumble top, and an apple and damson sauce to go with pork chops from the local butcher.

Matt came to help us out for a few days. He loves working with his hands and coming to do plumbing or brick laying for us is his idea of a holiday. He and Alex went over to Alex’s dad’s house to build a wall.

Robbie and I have been tending the seed of a new Grove – it may become that one day. For now, we just mark the Full Moons together, at each other’s houses.

All five of us had dinner together, feasting on Liz’s pork chops and crumble. Then Robbie, Liz and I went outside to mark the Full Moon of Harvest. And afterwards we all played a silly board game together.

That day was everything I would wish for Westacre: work on the land; people coming to stay for a while; people coming to help out; people coming to do spiritual work; and some fun and play thrown in for good measure. The place seems to agree with me. I could feel it smiling through the night time garden under the Full Moon.

May this me my harvest for this year: Coming home to Westacre. Finally coming to rest in this place I have chosen for my home. The weaving of a relationship with the Spirits of Westacre and those who find a welcome here.

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