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This is my life.
It´s a life of fire and snow.

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Car broke down (of course) so some mornings he straps a black plastic tub to his waist, we put fur in the tub and the child and then we proceed onwards, through the snow, we make tracks, we maintain the track… but mostly we stay at home.

I like staying at home. I´m a stay at home mom! Revolution! I own time!

I spend my days knitting potholders because my mother does that and she said “It´s a great sorrow for me that none of my children have taken up the ways of the thread” and there you go… no matter where you run you will never be able to escape where you come from.
I´ve realized that.
I´ve realized a lot!

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It´s hard for me to put into words…. the way of the winter. Trees are covered in regal white robes, sounds are muted, snow keeps on falling, like stars from above and there is peace, all around me. Stand still. Absorb.

It´s hard for me to put into words.

So I´ll show you an unimpressive picture and then I´ll tell you why it matters.

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This is our Kenwood Major. It cost a fortune and we couldn´t afford it, we bought it anyways. It must be five years old now, same age as the child.

When we went into the woods we only took with us what we could have in the car. We took all kinds of stupid things with us, we didn´t know better, we didn´t know that what you need in the wilderness is a black plastic tub in the winter and a tipi in the summer, not forget wheel barrows, we just didn´t know.
I wanted to throw away the machine. Seemed overly stupid to bring it with us because 1) we had no electricity for the first years, 2) “how lazy can one be, I can knead the bread and meat with my hands, we don´t need it!”
He said “NO!”
I don´t know why it meant so much for him but I accepted that it did.
For four years the machine was hid away under some rugs or in a messy box, in a tent, on the loft or outside in a shack. I didn´t expect it to work but it does.

So I spend my days baking sweet bread and meat loafs. I spend my days listening to this song and I can tell you why it matters

 

It matters because of this: my sister came to live with us the first year in the forest. She brought with her an ipod.
I´m not against machines. I just wanted them to be neccesary for real, I wanted to know!
I know now. I know about machines. I´ve realized a lot about machines. Some day I´ll tell you.

The speaker hung from her leather belt and we all listened to this song for days and days we listened. It was the fall and that fall was a fat lady singing. What a bitch.
The sound of axes swinging, the sound of the river, the sound of all of us sitting by the camp fire in the evenings, listening, we listened to this song, we rocked our heads and our toes while drinking warm rum and it was goooood.
Good times. Indeed.

I´ve been speaking too much and too long about our hardships and our miseries because 1) I wanted to give an honest account of our experiences, I didn´t want to fall into the traps of over romanticising our life in the wild, I would not surrender myself to societal archetypes 2) we went through a lot of hardship and misery.
It´s just….
Shit.
Well.

It´s pretty fucking perfect right now and I have never- ever- experienced the way of the winter, not really, not truly, you have to cover your naked self in snow, you have to surrender to the fire to feel it.

 

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I don´t know what to do with all of this. Days slowly sink into eachother, time unfolds, I melt, I know… I´ve reached that place.

Thank you for your donations. Or payments. Or support. Or generosities. Or gifts. Thank you a lot!

36 comments on “Fire!

  1. Ena Egelund says:

    Yeihhh!!! What a great post…. I’m all smiles!! Enjoy that profound feeling of being truly content!! It’s okay – you EARNED it sister!!!

    Like

      1. ropepi says:

        Hi Andrea
        The feeling of down hill only make sense if you know the feeling of striving up hill
        It all comes together in the moments of joy
        And you and your family deserves it… keep that in mind

        Like

  2. BeeHappee says:

    🙂 Perfect.
    “It´s just….
    Shit.
    Well.”
    LOL 🙂

    Like

  3. smcasson says:

    So glad you’re enjoying life. I was talking with Bee about this a few days ago. Do you attribute this peace/contentedness to “living in the moment”? I have noticed that I concentrate and focus lots of my energy and time on “tomorrow” and “planning for the future.” Did you have to make a decision to be more “in the moment”, or did that simply come as part of the life you have built? Or is this “living in the moment” even what you are experiencing? (am I even making sense?! Haha)
    Thanks Andrea.

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  4. Well, it´s hard to explain mostly because I´m not really living in the moment and I believe that my peace/connectedness is temporary 🙂
    I do think however that living in nature has changed me because, honestly, I´ve never had this deep sense of contentment before. I mean, I´ve sure been happy, blissful and overly exited but this is a different kind of joy. Acceptance maybe?
    It´s been a huge relief to let go of “having plans”. People often ask me what our plans are and when I say that we do not really have plans, that we are open and we know that things change all of the time… people just think I´m weird when I say that. I do think living in nature has changed us though and it´s a question of rythms. In our old life we had to adjust to the rythms of society, a constant beating drum, no room for fluxuations or even.. staring out the window, wasting time, drinking coffee, setteling in your body. As I´ve said before I think there is a cronic and very severe lack of time in modern society and I think it´s harmful and hurtful to a lot of people, I think we need time just as we need oxygen. Out here there is room for our rythms. Feeling down or feeling up- either or is ok because there is ROOM for it. And TIME for it.
    It´s not like we are happy or at peace all of the time- far from it- but I guess that the fact that we are allowed our own rythm does change something. I think it has changed the mind. I definetly FEEL different now and people who know me seem to have noticed a change too.
    I believe it´s in the air. Molecyles and andrenalin, exposure to sunlight, wind, forest lakes. I do believe nature can be healing even if it makes me sound like a new ager 🙂

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    1. BeeHappee says:

      🙂 I walked forest second day today. Trees and snow. You can just HUUUUUUG the whole forest. It is so so insanely beautiful and inspiring and healing and embracing and addictive!

      Like

    2. smcasson says:

      Thanks for the reply. I think you stated it perfectly; we need time and the ability to have our own rhythms like we need to breathe.
      My family is in a period of serious introspective study, brought on by our unhappiness with being so “busy” all the time. It is really grinding on us.
      By the way, I know and did not mean to infer that you and your family were content or happy or joyful all the time. But, I just wondered what you attributed your current state of mind to 🙂
      Thanks again. Time for more thinking…

      Like

      1. Casson, I know, I just had to repeat it (because I have really felt a pressure to be happy = a societal stereotype when we moved out here so I´m making a point out of saying that we´re NOT happy… which is kind of strange given the fact that we are 😉

        I know that state of serious introspection. We´ve been there as a family too. It´s a hard place to me. I really wish my book is ready because the first many chapters is about exactly this period. It will be ready in june though and I hope you buy it because I KNOW you´ll be surprised to see that you are not alone. It´s really weird that so many of us feel alone like that…
        Thanks for reading and commenting and questioning!

        Like

        1. smcasson says:

          Thanks Andrea. Call me Scott. I was commenting on here a while as Scott before I got a wordpress account 🙂
          I do plan to buy it. And I wish I could read it now… But I only speak English 😦 (working on Swedish, though, actually!) My family has promised ourselves that we won’t make any big decisions like selling the house in the next six months to a year. We are carefully documenting our thoughts over time, and your book will probably not arrive too late!
          Anyway. I am realizing we aren’t alone, but as many here have lamented, wish we could find these folks in “real life”. Thanks for your thoughts.

          Like

    3. I happened on a blog called The Praying Life.com. The writer had this to say. (I couldn’t have said it better and the writer echoes what you say. Even uses some of the same words.) “(In our societies) hesitation is seen as a flaw, a lack of confidence. Thomas Merton wrote that we live in a time of no room, in which we are “obsessed with (having enough) time, (having enough) space, saving time, conquering space, projecting into time and space the anguish produced within [us] by the technological furies of size, volume, quantity, speed, number, price, acceleration.” Thomas Merton, A Book of Hours, p 32

      “We live in a time of no room for the soul’s edges to roll out unconfined by agenda. We are hemmed in by a culture which has convinced itself that time is a commodity, of which there is great scarcity. Our souls become cramped, stunted, and deformed by the crushing weight of having to produce and fill every moment with sound and human activity.”

      So, my dear internet friend to you I say, Rock On! You (we) are on to something and it seems like it would be a very good thing to keep it going.

      Love to you, your snow and the forest. – Renee

      Like

    4. mridler3 says:

      “staring out the window, wasting time, drinking coffee, setteling in your body.”…ahhhh…now that is what I most envy. Time to just let go and be…nothing pulling you to do something else, no schedule or agenda, no guilt for sitting still

      Like

    5. I can very much relate to those last few sentences. Going though something similar ourselves.

      Like

      1. BeeHappee says:

        “staring out the window, wasting time, drinking coffee, setteling in your body.” AH
        “I can very much relate to those last few sentences. Going though something similar ourselves.” RVW
        You idle socialists pseudo-Swedes . . 🙂 just teasing. . We here on this side of the ocean busting our bottoms off with 2 jobs, mortgages and loans, keeping up with the Joneses, saving for that Vegas trip hoping to win big (many people anyway). . no time for staring out the windows and drama documentaries. We have all spaces filled here, office hours cramped with stuff, rushing through schedules. more more and more. . Probably that is why I am craving to get back to my childhood when there was so little of tangible and so much of intangible. Some of our favorite films, like Trail of Panda and The Amazing Panda Adventure involve boys saving panda bears in Chinese wilderness, where there are no rules, time restrictions, no schedules.
        Love your quote Renee from Merton, it echoes what Gordon Hempton said about sound. Everything quantified, everything expected just the certain way. Let me tell you, I have a corporate meeting coming up 5 days straight, makes me want to cry just thinking about it, everything from the way you dress, to the way you talk dictated to you. The book Curious that I read talked about puzzles and mysteries. We just do not have time for mysteries, we do not want them, just give questions, answers, better yet, tweet everything, and all has to fit into 21 characters – or whatever it is on Twitter. . .
        That is why I am against enrolling kids in any structured schools. I babysat in families where 2 working parents were booked from early morning till 8 or 9 at night sometimes, and kids were just the same.

        Like

  5. Local knowledge: Fat Freddy’s are from my homeland of New Zealand, and ‘Cay’s Crays’ is an iconic caravan next to the sea selling fresh crayfish (kind of like lobster) on the coast of Kaikoura, in the south island of NZ. I got a wonderful ‘global village’ thrill to see that you mention a FFD song! Love your blog! x Helen

    Like

    1. smcasson says:

      This is so cool!

      Like

  6. ncfarmchick says:

    So good to see a post from you today, Andrea! I was kind of going through withdrawal from your words for a few days there (ha!)
    We have a sign, a little slab of wood with the word “Peace” burned into it by our front door. I made it a number of years ago to cover up the hole where a doorbell used to be. We had some “professional help” building our house (we did a lot but not all of it) and they took it upon themselves to put in a doorbell one day. I just about had a fit. It was exactly things like doorbells we were trying to escape when we moved out here in the first place. When I called to correct the situation, they asked me, “Well, how will you know if someone is at the door?” I said, “They can knock, sing, tap dance or scream bloody murder for all I care but take the $%&*ing door bell OUT!” Not really, but in my mind I like to tell myself I was that brave and forthright. Anyway, all of that is to say that our little peace sign, made by hand and out of wood found here on our property, very effectively covers something we found to be ugly and intrusive and wishes all who come to our home the one thing we consider to be the greatest wish one could grant someone but that which we find most elusive. Or maybe fleeting is the better word. Or transient? Whatever. But, I hear you finding your peace all the way across the ocean. I think you have something with the idea that the lack of plans deserves a large part of the credit for your contentment, regardless of its temporary nature. I have come to realize that the constant striving many of us fall into (If only I was better at this, tried harder at that, achieved this goal or that milestone) does far more damage than we realize. It works, for a while, and our culture supports this way of thinking (in part because it usually makes money for someone – funny how so many products, services, courses, books, etc. are really big money-making “self-help” in disguise..or not disguised at all.) For me, it has been a big revelation that the world is not going to end, no one will hate me (I hope) and I am actually happier when I don’t have my short term goals and long terms goals written neatly out on index cards for constant referral and adjustment. For me, It has been about force. I grew up believing that if you try hard enough, you can make your dreams come true. Not an unusual philosophy (especially in the US) but one for which there is no back-up. What happens when you “do everything right” and you still aren’t where you want to be? What happens when you come face-to-face with something you really can’t MAKE happen no matter how hard you try? You let go, sometimes in a big way that scares you to death, and let the thing unfold organically and try to stay out of the way. I am not one to give unsolicited advice but, given the chance, I would say to anyone that this is one of the most important lessons I have learned in my life, thus far. I get this feeling from your writing, Andrea, and I am most grateful to have found it and you. Thank you (and, sorry for the rant! I’m just jealous of all that beautiful snow.)

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    1. Eumaeus says:

      Like

    2. “big revelation that the world is not going to end, no one will hate me and I am actually happier when I don’t have my short term goals and long terms goals written neatly out on index cards for constant referral and adjustment.”

      That gave me a good chuckle! Hey, I’m totally with you!

      Like

      1. ncfarmchick says:

        No, really. My mother, whom I love dearly, actually used to do that. But, she is one of those people that finds diagramming sentences fun. YIKES! Shows you that even if nothing is implicitly stated (though she tried to get me to see the value of this practice), the culture is there and we absorb at least a portion of it along the way. Which is why it is no surprise to anyone that we lean toward the unschooling/immersion learning for our boys. Surprisingly, my mom thinks it’s great, too, so you never know.

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      2. That’s cool! There’s hope for moms!

        Like

      3. smcasson says:

        Maybe there’s hope for my parents and in-laws after all! Thanks

        Like

    3. smcasson says:

      Thanks for that, NC. I’m listening and thinking… I probably need a big scary change.
      I too was in withdrawal! Haha And I’m so jealous of the snow too.

      Like

      1. BeeHappee says:

        You southerners, sharing some snow pics, enjoy 🙂
        https://beehappeenow.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/hunting-for-squirrels/
        https://beehappeenow.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/tree-shadows-etched/
        I can barely find my mailbox, it is buried in the snow. 🙂

        Like

      2. ncfarmchick says:

        Yeah, the real danger is waiting for something to force your hand because then you may not have as many choices (though that is not always bad, either, depending on how you look at it.) Everybody has to know when to dive in but also how much of a life vest they need, too. Come on in, it’s not so scary, really:)

        Like

        1. smcasson says:

          The water’s fine!!
          I think for us, the life vest is “time”. If over a period of six months to a year, we keep the same goals we have currently, then lets do it! I think thats not unreasonable for a major life change…

          Like

    4. BeeHappee says:

      NC, too funny, love your story about the doorbell and your wise words. We do not have a doorbell. Just because 2 that we ever tried never worked. 🙂 I never missed it really, maybe just a couple of times when postman did not deliver overseas packages. . .
      Oh snow, yes, I decided I never want to live where there is no snow. For me, that pretty much equals living where there is no water. 🙂 I trekked couple hours in sunny snowy woods Monday, then walked with kids yesterday, and it started snowing again, it was so white among the dark pines, totally magical. We saw 2 coyotes, and my little boy kept searching for squirrels to hunt. He said we will not have to waste money on store food if he can get us a squirrel, so he followed all the tracks. Then we got stuck and could not get out of the forest, because the car just could not climb up the hill on a snowy road. And it was good to just be totally cut off from the whole world, just sitting there in the middle of the white blanket.

      Like

      1. ncfarmchick says:

        Sounds magical! We used to get more snow when I was a child and I miss it though the last two winters have been more reminiscent of those times. Makes climate change a reality for me, anyway.

        Like

    5. I think I like the comment section of my blog much more than I like my actual blog.

      Thank you!

      Like

      1. Ah, heck, that’s great. Made me laugh.

        I like BOTH. Actually I think of it as one big blog.

        Blog + Comments = a house that is more than the collection of its bricks.

        Like

      2. ncfarmchick says:

        See what you started! It seems you may not have left the psychologist’s chair after all. Just moved it online and let all your “crazies” hash it out amongst themselves!

        Like

      3. As usual, NC, your perceptive mind, good will and fine sense of humor see through to the truth! Love it!

        Like

    6. This comment is one of the reasons I like blogs like Andrea’s…. The original blog triggers a wave of responses that make the whole a rich feeding ground for thoughts, after thoughts and reflections….
      Tack ska ni ha!

      Like

      1. ncfarmchick says:

        And I love reading your blog, Ron. You have such enthusiasm for what your homestead can be. It comes through in your writing and the excitement is infectious.

        Like

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