Some time last year I realised I could not go on with my life as it was. I had a great life, though, don’t get me wrong. But I won’t get into that here. That belongs to The Beginning.
I left my job, many of my friends, and the place I had chosen to be my home, in order to follow my passion. To regenerate land and people, to work towards a viable alternative to the systems we live in. And so I landed in a wonderful place, Tyddyn Teg (more on that soon), in the stunning landscape of Gwynedd, Wales. Where inspiring, hard-working, sophisticatedly crazy people are working towards their dreams of a better world.
And yet I knew my calling was elsewhere. My year planner showed it clearly, full of trips to the South, to Devon and Dorset… There was going to be a lot of hopping onto trains, getting to know Bangor Station. And then it dawned on me. I’m ready for the next phase, for a step closer to homelessness, to freedom.
Every time trying to shed some more material belongings, each time amazed at how much I still “possess”.
So here I am now, in the heart of Dartmoor, at the wonderful High Heathercombe Centre, where healing and growth take place in stunning surroundings. Volunteer week, when kind and skillful people come here to give a bit of love and care back to this land, just finished yesterday. We weeded, cleaned, strimmed (well, Mel did) and raked, moved grass clippings, soil and mulch, prepared young birches to be moved behind newly erected fences, and, most importantly, shared our stories and dreams.
Still, the Dream, that very alive creature that leads me by the hand towards my future, lets me know, often and loud, that I will not set deep roots here.
I first thought that farming was enough. Producing good, healthy food. Organic… Then I realised that organic is not enough. It is a big big step in the right direction, don’t take me wrong. But we’re still killing the soil, reducing diversity, depending largely on annual plants… So, the next step I found was Permaculture, a term originally coined to describe permanent agriculture, in the sense of favouring permanent crops over annuals, of designing an agriculture system that embraces diversity and increases ecological resilience. Now, however, I know that even permaculture is not enough, although it is indeed several enormous steps in the right direction. But what we need goes beyond permaculture. What we need is regeneration.
And that is the Dream, or big part of it. A blank canvas where regeneration of land and people can take place. A self-sustaining, near-zero-waste, off-grid system. A place for people in need to reconnect with themselves and with nature. A place of healing and happiness, for learning and grieving.
Until that crystallises, this virtual space will be my home. How ironic that, in my attempt to live a more natural life, my home is an abstract construct of very sophisticated technology. Ah, Life. How wonderfully witty you are.