Flapping my arms and making high pitched “caw’s” around the kitchen table.
“You pretend to be a crow mommy and I’ll be a scarecrow and put my arms out like this”.
Later we dance. Turn the radio on and move our legs and arms to the beat. The little one in my arms, throws his whole upper body back, legs wrapped around my waist, comes up laughing, leans into me. Soft cheek against mine. Joy.
We are awaiting an oil delivery and the floor needs a clean, but this is our home. The garden is a project for our lives. We will grow old tending its corners and pulling up vegetables. That is the plan. A place to grow vegetables and put down family roots.
A spiral staircase leads to the upstairs bedrooms. I have painted one room, the boys room, the older boy helping me. Dips his brush into the bright blue paint
“Is this ok Mommy. Is this too much?”.
“I’m very good at painting Mommy”..as he mashes the bristles into the wall. Focused on layer of paint after layer of paint. We paint while the little one sleeps. We paint and chat. He tells me about his dreams, the plot of his favourite cartoon.Whether wolves are real or pretend. Paint spatters on his hands, his feet (aren’t your feet cold my boy, where are your socks, your slippers?- “I just like my feet being cold”.)
The house is big. Big enough for us and our dreams. Big enough for a bedroom each, but for now we are mother and baby in one room; father and son across the hall. We sleep on mattresses. Close to the ground. Easy accessibility for little arms and feet. We sleep while stars twinkle in the window. Sleep to the sound of the wind in the trees.
Big enough to provide a home for all of our things and then some. We have two pianos, but no mop. Pictures went up onto the wall before the clothes were unpacked.
We walk down the road. Our neighbour has goats, chickens and a home that was once a church. Donkeys munch grass in the field by the stream; horses in another. Swans on the lake, ducks too. All come towards us as we approach (not a welcome but in search of food).
Another approach, a neighbour (not looking for food this one) stops his van on the road. The local big farmer. Shakes my hand. “You must be Mairéad, Welcome to Carrickfad”. Another neighbour drops in with a bottle of wine and an “anything you need, we’re right there”. The dog in the house with the swings and the two blond boys is Coco, fiercer in bark than in bite, we are assured.
Next door we wander into an abandoned garden. Discover corners of retreat and overgrown beauty. Here a pond with a tiny wooden bridge, there a table and chairs to relax and enjoy the roses. No roses now. Table and chairs rotting. The place is for sale. We hope the neighbours keep the trees. Brendan lived here once we are told, this garden was loved once. Now it awaits its future. We await the future neighbours, hoping they keep the trees that are ours in view alone.
I roll out my mat in the space. While boys run around and while boys sleep in bed upstairs. Once I believed all I needed was enough space of my own to roll out a mat. Judged my potential bedrooms in already rented houses by this standards. Now my space could take a whole yoga class of rolled out mats, and maybe it will.
In darkness, in moonlight I drive up narrow roads to join others to practice. A roomful of women in the moonlight. The teacher’s voice. Rooted to the earth, to this place. We are strangers, but she hugs me in introduction. I wind my way back home again by the lake and up the hill. In the kitchen my love and I share a glass of wine and our thoughts about the colour the walls should be (I say white, his look says anything but).
This is home. This is love. This is the future.