The large branch fell with a THUD and small snapping noises about ten meters to the side and behind me.
“Time to go!” I called loudly to myself. “Time-to-go-time-to-go!”
Around me, the wind whooshed and the trees swayed back and forth. I half jogged, half waddled down the slope as fast as I could with the pack, watching my footing intensely.
The wind dropped as soon as I got down off the hill, looking back up at the wood I could still see the trees moving alarmingly. The temperature rose by a good five degrees at the lower altitude, causing me to strip off layers.
It was late by the time I arrived in Dursley, nestled in it’s gentle slopes. Laura met me with an energetic smile and self-conscious excitement. She spoke with love and pride about Dursley, about wanting to put it on the map. Her admiration flowed for projects in Stroud and Bristol, like Made in Stroud and the local currency Bristol Pound.
She gestured to several chickens wandering around loose as we approached the back door of her house. “These are the girls.”
We went straight into the narrow but light and colourful kitchen for a cup of tea. The round knobs on the cupboard doors and draws didn’t match. They were patterned and in different colours. A red woven heart shape hung near the window. I sat on a stool against a cupboard feeling very at home as a black cat came and went, surveying the scene.
Listening to Laura’s story of transformation, I again heard the process.
“It’s great to have positive ideas about what the future could be but in order to act on it sometimes it’s necessary to creat a bit of space. I certainly was a busy full time working single mum, so although I had great ideas it was difficult to put them into practice. I found the right time for me to stop full time work, when my children went to different schools. I had to create the space in my life, then the hope could come.” she said.
Laura sees a future for Dursley that brings the community together and puts it on the map. A process where the community comes together to create space. But creating a better future together is not just in terms of physical space, but in time as well.
Laura has two children and earlier that year took “a leap of faith” to give up her job and live on savings whilst she sets up her own business, Field Fresh, making natural skin care. Field Fresh would also help other people to learn to make their own skin care in the form of kits. She spoke with passion about encouraging the production of native plants that could be used in skincare so that we could reduce our imports. I found myself nodding along emphatically with her vision. My own efforts to start an eco-toiletries business with my sister were echoed as she spoke.
“I think many of us agree that the old economy is broken and not fit for the future,” she said “and we’re trying to find ways to create a new economy and feeling our way but it’s really hard to do that without some reliance still on old economy. I have some toes still in the old economy but I’m trying to gradually build new economy ways of earning so that I can make the shift from one to the other. The gift is that since creating space in my life for the business, other things have emerged too.”