At one of our WWOOF hosts I first heard the expression ‘land’ used to describe the settling in period when you arrive somewhere. “I’m just going to land” – sit down, take stock of your surroundings, settle in, make sense of and then move onward. If I’m honest it sounded a bit too hippy and out there for me to ever identify with it, let alone feel the need to use the term myself.
I think in my old life I was far more adept at launching from one environment to the next without any need to have a transition period – work to home to supermarket to kids activities, one city to the next town to the nearest village and back. Car to house to train to library. I might have shrugged a slightly different set of behaviours on and off depending on whether I was being Mummy, employee, customer, daughter, friend or volunteer but mostly I was being me in one of any number of roles I was very comfortable and at home in.
Here in this life I do much of the same – I have many different hats to wear and roles to play but this time the uniform (jeans, sometimes muddier than others but always jeans) is the same regardless. I am quite capable of feeding animals, coaxing children out of bed and into breakfast and teeth cleaning, answering their questions and chatting with them, then heading to a meeting about road repairs, or venison processing or enhancing visitor experiences or talking to the architect about designs for our community bunkhouse, or manning the craft table at Market Day, or chatting to tourists at the croft gate about our turkeys and which of our duck, chicken or goose eggs would be the best choice for the quiche recipe. I can answer emails, edit the community newsletter, write articles for various places, talk about grant funding for events for the 2014 summer season and discuss employee handbooks and health and safety policies before doing some weeding in the polytunnel, repairing the netting on my raised beds, having a quick scratch behind the ears of the piglets and counting the chicks again to be sure they are all safe from the hoodies, baking bread, making jam, sitting chatting to friends while crocheting a hat. This is my normal, usual week.
This last week has been a different sort of week though – it’s had all of the above alongside a trip to the mainland, car hire with last minute changes of plan, supermarket shopping, squeezing into changing rooms with Scarlett to try on endless pairs of trousers (her uniform is much like mine, except the knees have gone in all her pairs of jeans!), playing host to two sets of people – one family of dear friends who we have known for nearly 10 years, another family who we’d never met before but were really lovely to meet and get to know, the stress of ferry trips, transport and travel and schedules and appointments and dentists trips. Returning home, unpacking everything and trying to get back into the swing of our everyday lives while still reeling from the mainland trip, keeping Bonnie settled, guests hosted and everyone fed and looked after.
This morning we waved off our friends and then sat in the community Sunday teashop with a cup of tea and a cookie each. Ady and I went to our freezer and organised the food we’d shoved in there when we got back to Rum without putting away properly. I went and sat for a while with some Rum friends in the sunshine before walking back, all alone, to the croft where I checked on things in the polytunnel, scratched a pig or four behind their ears, moved some mint from the herb spiral to my newly created mint circle, picked some herbs to dry, put away some laundry now we can actually get to the cupboards in the bedrooms in order to put it away and sat down with Ady, Davies and Scarlett to watch a film, eat dinner.
Ten days and the next set of friends arrive, followed by family, followed by a trip off island for me. Somewhere in between we need to sort out another trip off to the dentist, organise another hire car, more accommodation and start thinking about getting ready for the winter.
But for a short while, just a day or so, I’m planning to do a spot of landing.