We have been out of the city for most of this weekend. 8 years ago we went halves with the Husband's sister in a cottage which sits just under the brow of a hill in the middle of a field of sheep which you reach by driving down a dirt track through a wood. For miles around there is nothing but fields, woods and parkland. Despite being on the edge of a public footpath we rarely see anyone pass by when we are there. It is a truly beautiful place in a quiet, unshowy and jolly British kind of way.
Getting this place coincided with the beginning of our treatment for our complete failure to get pregnant despite a couple of years of no contraception followed by fruitless charting and inconclusive trips to the GP. Many weekends were spent in those first few years walking through the woods crying inconsolably at the frustration of not being able to do what everyone else seemed to be able to do effortlessly, frustration that the doctors could not come up with any particular reason for why we could not and finally frustration at the slowness of the NHS. I think I must have been hard to walk with in those years and I expect that the Husband (I think I need a better name for him) was mighty glad that we were in the middle of nowhere rather than in the very public parks of the city.
As well as using the countryside as a place to walk, talk and cry out my grief, frustration and hopes I also dug vegetable beds, built paths and a wall, planted and weeded and spent hours outside in any weather. So weekends, when we were by ourselves, were a heady mixture of emotion and manual labour. During the work there was no time to dwell and really no inclination at all as the physical actions seemed to cancel out any mental turmoil - well at least whilst I was doing it. We would end the day so tired that we were often asleep by 9 o'clock.
Without the work on the garden I would have found the emotional times when walking too hard to bear. I have never been one for opening up much as I have an abundance, despite my mixed cultural heritage, of that old cliche British reserve. The idea of any kind of therapy was, and in many ways still is, abhorrent although I can when I look at it rationally see why it is so popular and useful for so many. So I needed to follow the talking with something completely mindless - although mindless is the wrong word - it is more a feeling of total involvement in something physical, rhythmic and with a purpose. Something which binds you to the earth and which cancels out or at the least reduces to a bearable level not only the immediate frustrations of day to day life but also the things that you think you will never overcome.
Over the last few years we have spent less time at the cottage for various reasons partly connected with family and partly due to inertia. This weekend however we were back there and I walked through the wood with the Girl. There were no tears. Instead there was log balancing, there was fox spotting, there was laughter. She found the place a delight. I found her a delight. I also thought back to the tears and the frustrations and how the cottage and its surroundings helped us get through. When we got back to the house and the Husband and the Boy I decided to counteract my bout of melancholy by clearing a vegetable patch which we haven't planted this year and decided that this weekend at least I wasn't going to dwell on what is likely to be another natural cycle which will get us nowhere. But that is for another day.
Hello to all of those who have come by from NaComLeavMo. I am planning to come by to all of your blogs now that our holiday week is over.