bare rooted, are we.

one fish
two fish
three fish
See me herewith trying with difficulty to follow my own advice… Not to worry as worrying does not help (“not going to add a day to [my] life”), and furthermore ask myself : what is this shit-we’re-in actually good for ?
We have just one month left to have moved out of the house we have been living in for the last 4,5 years and so far have found nowhere else to go. We need : salubrious (comfortable even—we survived 11 years of designed squalor in a badly built jumped-up shed and we now actively love ourselves more), affordable, and in the vicinity of the children’s school. I am looking forward to the change that the universe has in store for us, what we will learn about ourselves in the process but in this in-between-waiting/hoping-stage I might as well admit that I am battling with fear. Existential fear sits in the kidneys. Bringing this to my awareness helps the energy to flow and not bring trouble/disease. What do I learn : I go for a brisk walk with my two children and I realize, we three are alive together, healthy, we can jump fences, go through windows, walk around obstacles, we’ll be all right. The shit we’re in has a taste of freedom if we can stop running with the fear. What do I learn : our roots, like those of the bare-root trees one can buy and plant in the colder months, can survive temporarily in a bag tied at the base to ensure the wind does not dry them, or else “trenched temporarily into any spare piece of ground until you can move them to their permanent site.”* What do I learn ? there is no permanence and it is a good thing, learning keeps you alive and in motion. What do I learn ? my life is with me, even when all its earthly components are shaken, questioned or on hold.
Truth be told, moving is not a joyous perspective for the hoarder in me. I am an immigrant, my books (52 m of bookshelves made out of rough wood), my things are my memories, the memories I knit for myself and my children. It is a particularly cruel time when I have to cast a cold eye on the strange and potentially valueless stuff I lovingly collect and keep and wonder if it will really deserve to be packed and moved (mental issue ? art !). A jar housing the stalks of most pears I have eaten in the last 7 years or so ? Cut out plastic windows from the business envelopes I receive ? Bones ? Carefully collected circular things ? I used to joke that I, a lover of rusty metal, may have been brought onto this earth to house discarded objects, but these days I decide that I—and my two young people—deserve to be safely housed too (safe from the whim of those who own houses in a country that does not protect… value… respect… tenants in the least), and I’d like to bestow this as a basic right to all humans if I may…
There is a postcard on my fridge that says that women “earn just 10% of the world’s income and own less that 1% of the world’s property” and I, a woman, “own” 4.8 acres of land that I farm, and where many bare rooted trees have been planted and will not have to move (although there are a couple of hazels I will dig up and transplant soon, for their own benefit). Perhaps in the soil is where our symbolic roots are kept moist and alive even when we’re not sure where our next bed will be. Perhaps in the soil, even when you don’t “own” land or even a spade is where all of our human roots are kept moist and alive until you find somewhere to welcome you, it needn’t necessarily be a “permanent site” for us moveable bideps but it sure needs to be secure in some way.

  • advice sent at delivery by my favourite supplier of the most lovingly packaged trees, future forests.

p.s. something I just found on Poor as Folk, echoing a rant of mine earlier today…

via Community Tenants Union. The general idea here is that housing is a basic human right and people NEED housing (… ) Renters are highly exploited to benefit others and that shouldn’t happen. Community Tenants Union explains in the comments, too : “I think the point is that people shouldn’t have to rent. Creating a market for housing means that people get rich off what should be provided as a basic need.”


  1. “Perhaps in the soil is where our symbolic roots are kept moist and alive even when we’re not sure where our next bed will be. Perhaps in the soil, even when you don’t “own” land or even a spade is where all of our human roots are kept moist and alive until you find somewhere to welcome you, it needn’t necessarily be a “permanent site” for us moveable bideps but it sure needs to be secure in some way.”
    May you find soil Djeribi. Deep, rich, soul-growing soil to plant and tend the very best part of your life, the part yet to come.

    • I have soil in my steward(less)ship and excitement for the coming growth and all life, it’s a roof over our head that we need to find for the near future.

  2. As a fellow collector of obscure stuff that could potentially be transformed into something worthwhile and beautifuI…I feel your angst…My trouble is, most of the transforming only happens in my head!! But it is difficult not to become attached to inanimate objects – their stories, their familiarity and their pleasing shapes. I hope you find the perfect spot to house your family for many years to come. I know you will 🙂 BTW the mackerel images are gorgeous- very Vermeer-esque 😉

    • Vermeeresque ! thank you so much for seeing that here. Isn’t he quite the painter of the safe and comfortable interiors. Exactly what we need…

  3. I have lived like a third world person in a land of plenty myself….blink and my landscape/home is swept away. And everywhere I land there’s a garden to plant and then leave behind. Sometimes I feel resiliency is my middle name. My own children now have children of their own and I can safely say they grew up clear eyed and in their own skins. Your children have YOU! It’s more “home” than many children have.
    I loved the description of the things you’ve chosen to collect, to save! I love your embracing your fears! Good luck, my dear….

    • Thank you for reminding me that we are all in it together—we, living things, humans, women, mothers, depending on what the current ‘it’ is. I am completely with you on what skills I learn and pass on to my growing young things, first and foremost that what comes to you brings the lesson you need for your life, should you wish to accept it. Yes, we’ll be fine, we are definitely alive through this. Take good care of yourself now that your children have grown their own wings…

  4. Dear M-A. As you know I enjoy your writing very much. I wasn’t too sure about the fish. You see with my bad eyesight it looks just like a whale. The plate and the fish is the mouth. I kept wondering what it all meant until I finally read the post.This stirs up a lot of resonance for me. M

  5. My crumbling 101 year old cottage, aching with neglect. The frequent bouts of sadness and hopelessness.I hear you loud and clear. I wish for basic standard of living also. A fully functioning cooker, a new fridge, windows and doors that close. Spring is coming and may we all be warmed and sun bathed, smelling posies and I wish you guys a lovely home.

    • Thank you. I wish for all our gardening endeavours to be fruitful and our homes to be warm, dry and comfortable when we head in with soil under our nails. I hope you do give yourself all the love you deserve. And see you at the plant swap in May I’m sure x

    • Thank you !
      Happy end now in sight but a few more loops to go through. I (we ?) may have learned that despairing is not a valid option for what you have no control over…

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