I read Earthed by Rebecca Schiller recently and it couldn’t have resonated with me more deeply.
It’s a beautiful memoir of a difficult time in her life beginning with a move to the countryside, the taking on of a plot of land – a new adventure for her and her young family. As the seasons unfold the scale of her project combined with the challenges of earning a living, raising a family and just existing in an increasingly complicated and overwhelming world (Covid not withstanding) everything takes its toll on her mental wellbeing. As she becomes increasingly fragile and anxious Rebecca takes comfort from the land around her and explores the history of her smallholding – both the landscape itself and the women who have made it their home. The land earths her while she navigates a painful and emotional path back to herself. She learns that that she has ADHD, her way of being in the world was always different; trying to adjust herself endlessly to fit in to the shape that the world expects a young, creative, intelligent, productive, writer, wife and mother to exist in is, in part, the problem.
Rebecca’s writing has an extraordinary poetic quality and is beautiful in it’s unflinching honesty. It resonated with me for many reasons, not least because my own plot of land here at Swallowtail Hill is my root system and keeps me grounded when the world around me feels uncertain and chaotic. Our own story has led us to be great advocates for mental health and wellbeing and regular visitors will know that we place great value on the restorative value of time outdoors in nature.
If you’re looking for your next summer read, something to make you think differently about the landscape around you and the landscape of your own inner world, then this is it. I couldn’t recommend it more highly. You can read more about Rebecca and her work on her website.
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