And I remember this song around this time of year when the days are short and cold nights long, and I start to question why I live where and how I do.
My husband and I live in a house in the woods which we’ve retro-fitted to be as green as possible. We’ve got a woodburner with a heat store that provides our hot water and heating when there’s no sunshine to top it up via the solar panels. We’ve got just enough woodland to, so far, fell, chop and season our own wood. We’ve topped up the insulation (floor, walls and ceiling) as much as we can, given the limitations of the building, and have double glazing throughout. And while that sounds great, when it’s been raining for what feels like six months and you’ve got to go out in it again to get more wood for the fire, it can really make you wonder if you made the right choice getting rid of that oil-fired boiler!
Having reflected deeply on our decision to go quite so green, I’ve seen that there’s two ways to approach it. Some people change their behaviour and then find that they have to face up to the aspect of themselves that prevented them from doing that before. For example, my desire for comfort and an easy life (particularly when I’m tired or sick) is sometimes challenged by our living situation. The other way is to work on yourself, and then watch the behaviour naturally change, watch how what was once a chore becomes a simple pleasure. In our case there’s been a bit of both going on, we’ve both changed and adapted and our living situation has also rubbed up against us and forced some of that change to happen quicker than it might have done otherwise.
But when the spring arrives and the whole valley becomes vibrant and full of life, the bulbs burst through the ground and into flower, the ferns unfold and brambles daringly start to spiral out from the woods in every direction… there’s no going back to an ‘easy’ life for me.