Thursday, October 9, 2008

Dragonfly Passing Through - by River

“Wherever the River flows, life will flourish…Where the River flows life abounds…the River itself, on both banks, will grow fruit trees of all kinds. Their leaves won't wither, the fruit won’t fail. Every month they’ll bear fresh fruit because the river from the Sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.”

Ezekiel 47 : 8 – 12 mais ou menos

Thanks Shanti B this one has gotten me through some tough times here in Our Zion.

But the last month has been fabulous why? Cause I have finally figured out all I have to do in this place is just flow. Keep on flowing River.

Memphis and I moved here for so many reasons with so many hopes and dreams and many of them seemed to be coming to pass. But the biggest one of all had not yet happened. Falcon Bear and Effie Starlight had not yet started school. School was more or less a topic avoided as I don’t think any of us dared express our hopes about how it could be. I think this lack of resolution encouraged me to see this as an extended holiday that I could (however difficult it maybe) walk away from if Falcon and Starlight weren’t happy at school. Big tension!

I think we may have been able to continue home schooling if we were in England where the children could still have easy access to other relationships and clubs and so forth. But here, the only way to make relationships with other children is at school.

Well! It has been four weeks at school and I could never claim to speak for Starlight and Falcon’s internal feelings but from what I have heard from them and what I have seen, school has been a little bit of what we all hoped for and therefore a wonderful thing to have happened in our lives.

Falcon I think wanted to find like minded boys to hang out with. So far he seems to have found boys who want to talk about sport. Be willing to listen to him and think about the importance of being kind to even the smallest creatures. He also wants to be around boys who have ambitions and want to talk about going to University and they have even been talking about going together since one wants to be an architect and the other two want to be photographers. And he has found that: a sense of place, companionship and people who show the desire to learn.

Starlight I think wants to be able to express her individuality. She is not afraid to be her own person and I think she wants to be recognised for having the special tender accepting love of life that she has. She had that recognition in her early school life in London and I think being her own person and being recognised as that is important to Starlight. It helps her feel safe to shine. And she is shining. She is often the first one to get ready for school in the morning and walk up the hill. She gets her stuff ready the night before. Goes to bed without messing around too much and is ready for her day. I remember Andy and I constantly saying to the kids “Just get up and get ready for your day and then you will be ready for whatever it brings. “ But she never listened and now she is doing it all on her own. She is fabulous.

I think Memphis, Big Daddy Penguin as he is, wants the children to be able to stay children a little bit longer and just enjoy the process of growing up and learning to take responsibility for themselves. Watching them walk up that hill every morning at a quarter to eight, we can see they are well on their way.

For me, I want the kids to want to learn. To learn from everything and everyone. To be around us enough to want to learn from us. To be with other people fuelled up by taking learning seriously and enjoying it. But I also want them to be safe, not safe from bad days and low times and from generally feeling pissed off and frustrated, those times come to us all. But safe from the separateness that is so much a part of life in London. I want them to feel deeply connected to the Earth around them and everything in it. I also want them to still be willing to fly free of everything and work it out for themselves a lesson I think they will retain from their life as city folks. All this learning and experiencing requires a lot of great people in your life. Your family, your extended family, your families’ friends, your teachers, your peers. It’s easier if the majority of these people are good people, willing to give you some of their time, willing to be themselves with you and willing to teach you. That is what I had when I was growing up and I want that for my kids. They had some of that too in the Metropolis and now they can have a different experience of good people here to help teach them about this time in their life.

In many ways I jus couldn’t get stuck into our home at Moses until I had seen that my children were safe at school. But now Memphis and I are putting down roots. It has been great!

We have been working together alone for the last four weeks and so at first we were really scared without Sunshine or someone else who had actually done this before. We also wanted to do it ourselves, a confidence that we would not have had without Sunshine’s help and for which I am truly thankful.

But alone we were, so we looked at each, sat down and just looked at our home, alone and ready to begin. Memphis looked at me and said, “Ready to begin River” and I looked at him and said “Let’s go Memphis”. I think the names help, its like watching a story unfold. Andy and Von are fairly set as who they are but Memphis and River are highly adaptable new beings who would know how to tackle any situation. The good thing about having been here without building the house for so long, is that we have spent a lot of time doing research on just about everything to do with house building. While we were demolishing parts of the three houses and also visiting hoards of other local derelict buildings, we were able see how these old houses were originally put together, piece by piece. So that’s what we are doing with the first house, rebuilding it section by section.

In the last two weeks we have had a great deal of encouragement and advice from our neighbours, and a special thanks has to go out to some people who have come and really gave us a boost; Senior Lucas for sorting out our electricity so smoothly. Senior Julio and the bore hole guys who drove up in their fantastic 1950's van and just dug the bore hole in a day, gave us lunch and shared their wine with us. Finally, our architect, Phillipe, I am gives am always so relieved now to see him walking down that hill. He is mostly quiet, listens beautifully, gives us things to think about that we never would have and usually leaves us one piece of style advice. This style advice is the best, it reminds me that these stones, clay, straw, sand and lime are coming together to form a building, so keep your eye on the big picture. I find myself working harder now wanting to have something for us to show him so he can test us on it. So we have the advice of some experts to help us but ultimately we are on our own.

It’s wonderful I have loved it so far. We have hiked up and down our land looking for Eucalyptus to cut, skin and lay as beams. We have sifted huge sacks of clay from our land and hauled them down the hill on our backs and than hiked up again. We have carried hundreds of planks of wood down the hill and up the stairs and round the corner and careful you don’t bash into the god knows how old terrace. We have lugged stones and laid stones and cut ourselves on stones. We have hauled sacks of cal (lime) and barrows of sand down the hill only to carry it up the stairs in heavy black buckets. We have been made cold by the wind, wet by the rain, overly hot by the sun. We have assembled all these materials and made all this effort to create a room that will be our bathroom, a ground floor that will be the kitchen and Moroccan lounge, and today I have been digging trenches and laying stones to create what will be our water channel around the house while Andy has been building a stone box for new bore hole. And we are doing it, and I am loving it.

Sure I get really tired and fed up but the occasions are so fleeting and that verse my friend Shanti B gave me has really been an encouragement. My hubby is happy, my kids are happy and I am happy all I have to do is keep flowing like a River. Keep moving with life, keep accepting, keep shifting, keep being in the flow and just work at it bit by bit step by step, Shanti Shanti whatever it brings.

We have had one sad occasion this month, our lovely friend Raquel (here with her Mom at her leaving do last week) has finally left Oleiros to work nearer Lisbon. I am happy for her the work sounds exciting and she can now live in her home in Abrantes and who knows what she will do with all that time that was taken up driving to Oleiros every weekend! But, I am also sorry for too for our little slice of heaven is less brighter without her here. Fortunately Abrantes is only maybe 45 mins away, virtually neighbours in these parts, so whether Francisco and Raquel like it or not we will be making a point of visiting.

At the moment there are the most enormous dragonflies everywhere (yes this is a butterfly because we dont have any pictures of the dragon variety). They seem to perfectly match their surroundings and sparkle them up a bit. There is sky blue, sunshine yellow and grass green ones. I don’t know if Hari’s House is in their flight path but I have seen them quite a lot here. I have seen them at Cocoa’s new house, at Eugenia and João’s, outside our house at Moses, at the school, at our neighbour´s Steve and the list could go on. They are beautiful and where ever I am I have to stop and look at them. I am learning that every now and again, you have to stop whatever you are doing or saying and just watch as the dragonfly passes through. Inside our homes for a spell and then out. Off to see the world.

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