The Mother Magazine, Editorial
Issue 43, Nov/Dec 2010
The Nest, by Veronika Sophia Robinson
In September, around the time of a gorgeous full Moon and Autumnal Equinox, my family and I moved home. We had searched high and low for a new nest ~ from the bottom end of England, to the southern counties of Scotland. We even thought about Ireland. The more we searched, the more we realised just how much we loved living here in the Eden Valley, at the base of the Pennines, and how nurturing the views of hills and valleys are to our daily well-being. After eleven years at The Cottage, a big and exciting move took us just two hundred metres up the road!
On the evening we moved in, we sat by our wood-burning stove and felt right at home. The hearth ~ the heart of our home ~ embraced us. This house had been patiently waiting for us to nestle here and make it our home as much as we’d been searching for this space.
I’ve found it to be a joyous experience in re-creating our hand-crafted life. Everything that we owned, as well as memories and associations, were questioned: affirmed, or passed on to charity. Clearing the clutter has been deeply therapeutic on many levels, and it truly feels like a new beginning in our lives. We’re no longer tripping over ourselves in a cottage that was way too small for us, and we now have space for friends to stay over.
I’ve always dreaded this time of the year in England. Australian born and bred, I’m a real hothouse plant at heart, and need warmth. Coming to a home with two wood-burning stoves is like all my Christmases being celebrated at once! This Autumn has been an exciting and exuberant time, and hasn’t carried the usual forboding threat I’ve come to expect. I can enjoy going out for a walk in the golden leaves, the wind, rain and snow, and know that the fire will keep my nest warm while I’m out admiring red squirrels, red breasted robins and snowflakes. I feel excited about life again, and having a place which nourishes us as a family, and each of us individually, is such a blessing. It’s been a long time coming, and I often wondered if we’d ever find a place. I kept affirming: we have the perfect living space. On the days when it felt like it would never happen, I continued to nurture the home we had. It was in the language of a mother’s heart ~ through food, books, scents, laughter, relaxation and gratitude.
We each have different needs when finding shelter for our spirit and that of our family. For me, these needs include: a home which faces the Sun; being able to hear the sound of rain on the roof, and birdsong when I arise; a sense of being embraced by the walls of a home; a garden in which to play, and feed ourselves; somewhere that is private and a sanctuary from the world, and welcoming to friends.
It’s inevitable when going through a major life change like this to revisit all the things we hold dear: such as rhythms and rituals, traditions and habits.
Home, for me, is a place of sacred pleasures ~ physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Here I am sheltered from the world, and it is here I nurture myself and loved ones. From this well-spring I am then able to create and give back out to the world.
I expect these next few years in our new nest to be among the most creative and productive of my life.
The smells in my home nurture us, too, and vary from lemon and eucalyptus essential oil to clean the benches, jasmine incense, woodsmoke, root vegetable soup on the stove, and chocolate ginger cupcakes on a Sunday morning. Scents and aromas are as much a part of what makes this place a home as are the hugs from my family, the purr of cats, sounds of instruments, friends sharing a meal with us, books snugged up side by side on the shelves, patchwork quilts, healthy houseplants and candles.
When we had our life packed up in boxes and stripped the last home of our ‘essence’, Bethany said: “Wow, there really is a difference between a house and a home.” And so there is.
A home is made up not just of our material possessions and roof and walls, but of the love we bring into that space, the warmth of friends, and the laughter of our children. What do we mean when we whisper Home Sweet Home? It’s a place that allows us to put our feet up; to feel safe and relax, to psychically undress. For this reason, it’s important that the people and energies which we invite into our living space are conducive to loving and living, and match our authentic self.
During the October Full Moon, less than a month after calling this our home, we held a House Protection ceremony and lit a candle and sprinkled salt in each of the four ‘directions’ of our property. This ceremony is timeless, and brought conscious awareness to our living space as we invited unseen energies to gather and protect us, our home and garden.
As I write, I’m upstairs in the barn (the upstairs living room) looking out the windows across the Pennines. Bethany and Eliza are in here, too, playing guitar and singing by the wood-burning stove. As an unschooling family, home plays such a pivotal role in our day-to-day life, and to find a nest which nurtures our daily activities, whether they be work or pleasure, private or shared, silly or sacred, has been such a Goddess-send for which I continue to give thanks. I laugh that the home we were looking for so desperately was under our noses all along. I’m so glad that I followed my intuition that we should ask the owner if she’d consider a long term let (it was a holiday cottage for the past decade). It seemed like such a long shot, but in the end everything just fell into place so easily and effortlessly. A nicer landlady and landlord we couldn’t ask for.
Outside our bedroom is a covered porch area for storing firewood. Above the wooden beam is a bird’s nest. A little bird visits quite regularly. I’ve no idea if she’s a squatter or the owner of those beautifully arranged twigs, but like me, she enjoys that space as if it were her own. I’ve learnt that home isn’t a set of mortgage papers, but a space and place of love. We can create that anywhere. The ingredients are the same the world over, whether we live in a castle, yurt, villa, cave or condo. Home is wherever we infuse a space with love, harmony, peace and passion.