The world of the house and home is occupying much of my thought at the moment. For a couple of years now the drama of trying to sell our house has rolled on and on. First we dreamed of a old servant's quarters that had caught our eye further up the valley, but our little cottage languished on the market for a year with no takers. The house we'd been coveting was eventually bought by another family and we took ours off the market. Then out of the blue someone asked if they could buy our home; we looked about but couldn't find another that suited us better. We vowed to stay put and invest in our old weaver's cottage with her rattly windows and woodland at the door but, towards the the end of last year, someone whispered in our ear about a house that might be right for us. Modest and modern, lacking the romance of weather-whipped stone and old floorboards but with a garden brimming with flowers and fruit and some extra room for a growing family. It sits a few doors away, on either side, from beloved friends and would provide gangs of wild and roving children for our boys to join. It is not the little small-holding I hoped that we would one day have but a chance to tend a garden again would certainly have been a gift.
Unfortunately this little house of ours is not ready to release us from our obligations. Although there have been people willing to fall in love with it and its handsome views - problems have been discovered by a string of searching surveys. Men have come into our home with their clipboards and tape measures; she has been probed and prodded , her petticoats lifted and her secrets exposed. Our buyers have drifted away, too daunted by her many needs.
It seems we must stay where we are; the choice has been taken away from us. This feels an odd position to be in; we're told in our modern capitalist world that choice is almost a birthright so when our options are taken away it's hard not to feel frustrated and a little trapped. In working through this situation we find ourselves in, I've been trying to remind myself that choice is a privilege granted only to a small percentage of the globe, that many of the world's families live in one or two meagre rooms. Rather than regretting what cannot be I need to try and embrace what is; cultivate contentment and practice gratefulness.
Eli and Monty do this instinctively, the consumerist mentality having not yet tainted their young lives. They look at us and ask 'why would we live anywhere else? This is our home' And as with so many things, these children of ours show us the way...