Sunday, 20 July 2008

Living Woodland Day

We've just had a really good afternoon out at the kind of event I'd been hoping we'd start finding when we moved here, and now finally we have! It was a small local Living Woodland Day in our local woods on the common. We had a good time finding it spotting the computer-printed arrows pinned to trees through the paths and there was a charcoal burner there, people with foot-powered pole lathes and other wood-carving and craft items, people from the local eco-volunteers groups, a man making a replica of a Roman tile found on the common and people carding and spinning wool. The kids loved it. My son especially was fascinated by the wool-spinning and kept going back to have another go. It was quite tricky for him as it was treadle-powered and you needed to have quite a bit of co-ordination as well as enough power in your legs but he just loved it. We came home with bits of wool in our pockets spun by each child.

I joined the local society to protect the common and met the person I just sent off my subscription to to join the society to protect the local country park! We came home armed with leaflets about local events and guided walks in the woods as well as conservation information and the history of the area. I started feeling like we really belong here, as if I'm putting down roots in the immediate locality and feeling some connection with the countryside here.

I find it hard to articulate just why I feel so good about today: this was what I envisaged us doing with the children and as a family when we moved here. It felt like getting involved in the local community and learning about the local land and history. It felt like a family outing with a lovely walk in the woods, some learning, some fun and becoming part of it all somehow. Now we know about other such events that are taking place and particular places of interest to visit on our next walks.

This is particularly timely as I have been questioning the idea of 'belonging' this weekend - mainly due to feeling alienated from some places/groups/people that I had thought myself part of, and wondering why I even have this feeling of wanting to belong at last. I'm not a 'joiner' and I never have been. I am a confirmed introvert and not fond of groups of people, but since having children I've felt the need to put down proper roots, become part of a community. I'm still pondering the form this will take. I have tried to be involved in things before and it's never gone well so I'm cautious. I don't like to put all my eggs in one basket and join one thing and put my all into that one thing. I prefer to be part of different things in different areas of my life, but I don't really have time and energy to spare to do lots of different things right now. And yet, dipping a toe into lots of different things doesn't really satisfy that urge to belong. Maybe I just need to keep looking.


Laura said...

Sounds like a really lovely day Liz. I hope we are as lucky in finding things nearby. Having moved here fairly recently i can really indentify with what you're saying. Really enjoying reading your blog. x

bethnoir said...

Sounds like you're in the right place in more ways than one :-)