It is recommended that a Druid have a wooden cabin in the forest, where he or she can retreat to and live the simplest life – chop wood, fetch water, walk in the forest, cook in the outdoors. A little hobbit house like this one perhaps…

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I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms. 

Henry David Thoreau

We occasionally go camping. Although it is said that camping does not have the same presence as a designated retreat. We put up a big canvas tent, fetch water, prepare and eat our meals in the outdoors, walk a lot, get grubby, live simply. A few days after we returned from our last camping trip, my husband commented that he missed being outside. He’s now planning to get a chiminea so we can have a ‘camp fire’ on the back deck.

I used to long for a large plot of land – acres. I wouldn’t knock it back if someone offered, but it’s not something I strive for anymore.

We have an urban plot, it’s small, but it’s enough. We can grow herbs and vegies and fruit trees. The kids can run around a bit, they have a fort. Next to the fort is a very large Lilli Pilli tree that the kids enjoy climbing. If they want more space there are two parks within walking distance. If we wanted chooks we could have some. One day when the kids are bigger and no longer wish to use the yard as a soccer field/cricket pitch, I could plant a circle of trees to make a little grove. I also fancy turning the sacred (to my husband) but ugly tin shed sitting in one corner of the yard into an art studio and meditation space.

Live simply so others may simply live.

Author unknown

I recently visited a friend who has purchased a house on a large block of land. At one time I would have wanted the same, but what I saw was the amount of upkeep it would require. I am in the Autumn of my life, I want to potter around and enjoy more, rather than toil and strive. My mum lives in the country, on acres with many fruit trees and space for donkeys, and now that she is a widow and in her late sixties, she relies on the kindness of her neighbours to maintain the property. Sustainability is the buzz – doing the same or more with less. There is a man living in Sydney who has built sustainability into his inner city small terrace house and garden (

When I was much younger I was tempted to puchase an on-site caravan in a lovely seaside village. It wasn’t expensive and neither was the yearly rental. When I told my dad what I was thinking about, he was silent for a while, and then he looked at me in that ‘I’m going to tell you something important now’ fatherly kind of way. He suggested that it would be a shame to limit oneself to one area, saying that I could experience a different place every weekend if that’s what I wanted to do. And so I did for a long while, setting off on my motorcycle every weekend with a tent on the back, and a new destination in sight. Dad was right.

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.  

Henry David Thoreau

We live in  the Blue Mountains, in a small community along a ridge, with bush all around us. When we first moved into our house, approximately twelve years ago, we frequently commented that it felt like we were living in a holiday house. Our house wasn’t luxurious, it was just peaceful and quiet. It was lovely, and it still is, even though it isn’t quiet anymore with three kids and two dogs in residence. Some days the mist rolls in and it is magick.

The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. 

John Milton

We shall make do with what we have, and be grateful.





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2 Comments on “retreat”

  1. greenmackenzie Says:

    I adore the photo…..just like a hobbit house 🙂 And I can really relate to what you’re saying. We nearly moved 3 years ago, deep into the Scottish Borders, to an old mill with a huge plot of land, and it had a river running through it. There were geese, chickens, sheep and pot bellied pigs! It was my Dad too who spoke words of wisdom. “I wonder what it will feel like here in the depths of winter?” In the end we didn’t make the move, and with the way our life panned out since I’m so glad. I would never have coped with the sheer hard work of looking after the place. I too am content with my back garden 🙂


    • tree girl Says:

      Hi greenmackenzie

      Thank you for sharing your story. The location does sound idyllic. So glad you have found your place of peace.

      As I approach 50, I often reflect on how much I am contracting, downsizing, making simpler, and doing more with less. This reduction of the material is at a time when I am pulling together my experience and knowledge and feeling expansive and effective in what I do.


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