Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Fifties Croft in August

I'm going to cheat a little here and pretend that I wrote this post in August. I've been busy in the real world and haven't had time to post the final extract from a year on Wendy Wood's croft in the Highlands in the 1950s. She's in reflective mood this month. You can almost smell Autumn's approach in her writing.

"Having a room with a skylight is half way to sleeping out of doors, yet it keeps all the luxury; one sees much more of the sky and the elements than one would either in a tent or with any other kind of window. One sees the rain as the grass sees it, falling straight down to arrive in large round drops instead of slanting streaks. When the sun is making only a confined slit of light in the downstairs rooms, it floods my attic like a lamp in a box. The birds do not recognise it for a window, and when the wren sits on the roof I could touch her with my hand without stretching. A robin sings for his breakfast on a twig of the nearby holly tree; I can see the glint of his eye and a ruffled feather in his breast, and feel that this close-up performance is really meant for me. The tom-tit who prefers to be upside-down seems enormous at such close range. The young bats use the edge of the window as a rest when making their first flights, and chitter right into my face, whether with delight, fear, or just excitement at a world so big after confinement in the dark roof, I do not know.

Of course there are times when I do not appreciate this proximity to the sky. One of these is when the thunder seems to fall off the hill at the back and roll down the roof right beside my head, and the lightning floods the whole room, indeed seems to come right inside at each flash. I like the skyliught most on a calm frosty night when coloured leaves fall and make a pattern on the glass; when the moon silvers the loch, when the whole twinkling regiment of stars is in that small square patch, silently marching actoss the line of my vision."

I hope you've enjoyed reading this lyrical account of life in a simpler time. Reading about her way of life has just strengthened my own dilemma about country living. I feel just as she does about the animals, and the closeness to the change in the seasons, but it is such an isolated life. The pull to be amongst other people is very strong too, especially as the nights draw in and one's aloneness is emphasised by the long hours of darkness. I go visiting the city and I love participating in the best of what humanity does - the culture, the beautiful buildings, the interactions, the buzz of it all.

When I began this blog, it was intended to record what I thought would be my last year here on my two and a half acres, as I intended to move on - to a smaller house and people to talk to. Now, a year on, I will probably move on quite soon. But when I reread Wendy's book, I am reminded of all the magical experiences I have had, amongst the difficulties and the sadness, and I'm not so sure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can appreciate why you are torn. The isolation would be difficult to deal with, but the closeness to nature and the peace and quiet would also be hard to give up. Best wishes for your decision!