Scott and I have seen the shows, you know.. the ones about how couples move into abandoned and overgrown old farms and Inca ruins to rebuild them into fairy houses busting out with organic veggies or full-fledged farms with actual cows.
In those stories the couples are cheery and hard working and have a strong clear vision and nice rosy cheeks. In those stories the guy does all kinds of digging and chopping and moving walls and suchlike, while the girl wanders around the overgrowth in gumboots planning out nests for her vegetable gardens, her chickens, her pottery studio and then makes bread.
By the end of the first week in the little green house we were still not quite settled into His and Hers Back to Nature Bliss. For example, we found it very weird to be inside. The concept of inside is a very peculiar lifestyle option, especially if you have spent any real time in either Bali or a treehouse in Thailand, where I have spent a good part of the last four years.
The little green house, having no glass windows, is the most inside experience either of us have known. Once the door is closed, the windows shuttered to keep out the mountain night, and darkness has fallen on the ramshackle garden, it’s pretty much just us, the walls and the floor.
We had not yet taken up whatever it is one does in the Simple Life in the walled-in dark at night without internet. Shelling peas, darning socks, crochet coat hanger covers, de-fleaing the dog, de-fleaing each other… all these ancient pastimes are long lost to us and we feel the huge cosmic emptiness of life without hi-speed wireless.
Mornings were not much better.
We did not, as I had seen in my Vision, rise up shining to raise our arms to the sublime dawn. We slept in. For hours. Our hair went flat and crispy. We had pillow-face until well after midday, and the dog got to looking depressed.
The garden, being full of evil invisible biting flies, does not encourage flower picking, let alone scoping out veggie patches and gazebos. There is a feral veggie patch at the bottom of the garden that might as well be defended by Great Whites. I am covered in seeping, hot welts from hanging out the washing and forced to wear Scott’s hiking socks whenever I leave the front door. Beyond the porch I am ravaged by those wretched flying piranha.
The four little gas burners become my holy fires, and for a full week I try to get a handle on bliss by casseroling into it, with lashings of garlic and coriander root.
He opens his hands and a dozen fragrant orbs of fire and lava spill out before me: cherry tomatoes from the wild-haired veggie patch. The energy shifts, the lights flicker, and my heart takes off its shirt and tie, to relax at last, into what we have.