Impermanent address

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I’ve been listening almost obsessively to the King Creosote and Jon Hopkins album, Diamond Mine. It is so gorgeous that after playing it for the first time from start to finish, I was so bereft at having to stop hearing it that I just went right back to the beginning. It’s very much about King Creosote’s home of Fife, in Scotland, which got me thinking about why I write these letters. It is, I believe, a way to pin this garden down in time and to let it last. We do not have a title deed for this land, after all; technically the land is the property of the treasury. What we bought was the right to use the land. This may change (in fact it is likely to, as laws concerning this type of land have been changing) but I have become comfortable with the tenuousness of our hold on this place. It seems almost strange to think of owning land. And although we work hard to shape our garden and, especially during these hot, dry summer months battle the elements to do so, I know full well that when we lay down our tools, the forest will reclaim our land. The garden, it seems, is on loan.
It is not unlike the way it is with children. I sometimes surprise myself by looking at Baki and feeling no sense of ownership; he just seems like a little person who has taken up residence with us for a while. Then I realize that this us the truth of it. Our children are no more ours than the garden. It’s an odd shift on the way I think about having a family (and, incidentally, I have come to think of our garden as our middle child, now in its third year). It is like the day I realized that having a child did involve unconditional love, but that I’d be giving it, not receiving it.
Expectations, it seems, are best kept flexible.