Our last day at Embercombe. We awake to snow-sprinkled leaf tops and logs. A quiet Sunday morning, with just our departure to prepare for, and a few final cut-aways with Mac…
But, when we arrived up at the main yurt, we heard that they had recovered a fawn, discovered by the roadside, still warm, his heart almost beating. It had been hit by a car, and left for dead.
Sadly, this is not uncommon on the country roads surrounding this area. Two of the guys from Embercombe decided to bring the body back, and to honour the life of the fawn by making use of the body he left behind…
We were invited to watch the process. Adam explained that they often take people (including the teenage visitors), through this process, as part of them learning about the cycle of life, and, if they are meat eaters, where their food comes from. This, he explains is so important, especially in an age where food, but specifically meat is presented to the consumer in a plastic container, cut and prepared, and devoid of any connection to the life it was taken from. I was reluctant at first, afraid that I might feel repulsed or shocked, but it was not as I had imagined. Rather, I was deeply moved by the beauty of this being; the intricacies of his body, just hours ago, so alive, and now, so lifeless… It was a special and sacred experience.
We witnessed as Jarro and Adam strung the fawn up by his rear legs, and with simple reverence, removed his organs, his lungs, and heart – the same size as a human heart, sat there in Jarro’s hand.
I still don’t know if I would eat it, but it is surely the only way to approach eating meat – from life to plate, engaged in relationship and process.
We meet Mac, and walk to the stone circle together. We pass the hazel flower along the way – a tiny ruby-red jewel, in the brown, sleeping winter branches. Mac explains his unending awe for the hazel, and it’s magical beauty. I am carried by his voice – ancient, and speaking as 1000 voices of old.
As the sunsets, we say our goodbyes, and head off to Landmatters… Perhaps, though, setting off at dusk wasn’t such a good idea! We wind down single lane, hedge-lined roads, looking for the site. Eventually, guided by a local, and Beardy Tom, the Morris dancer on the other end of a broken telephone line, we find our way there.
Tom meets us at the bottom of the hill, and leads us up to a warm and cosy bender (a bender is a semi-permanent shelter fashioned from bent hazel rods and tarpaulin). This is the communal space – it houses a kitchen and a large wooden table, and a small office area, then stretches out into a ‘snug’, a second space with sofas and cushions. In the centre of the main space there is a wood burning stove, that is cranking out some serious heat! We meet Gary, who has been here for 4 years. There is another couple who have also arrived today – Sefton and Liz, who are in the very first stages of a new life. Just yesterday, they left their home in Margate, having also left their jobs, bringing their 8-month old baby, along with a car and a few possessions, in search of a deeper, more fulfilling way of life. It seems the story of life with children is still expanding! And so the people we meet continue to expand our horizons and facilitate new modes of perception.