‘Be our guest’ is an encounter with a personality and an issue. For a few lines, the Mag belongs to them. They can make it their own. Its tone, its style and the story it tells is theirs alone.
Today our guest is Louise, who I first met through her enchanting Instagram account, @lattrapereves. She lives in the Landes department of southwestern France. Her partner is a carpenter and she spends her days searching for treasures for her boutique, L’Attrape Rêves. Louise kindly agreed to be our guest and to reflect on the following theme: ‘I left the city for family life in the woods’.
I am writing this from my bedroom. Outside, the sun bounces off damp cork oak leaves, there are pine trees as far as the eye can see, and I can hear the cries of cranes migrating to the south.
I am writing this from a forgotten corner of a forest in southwest France.
I am a real city-dweller.
One who orders sushi and goes to the cinema several times a month, who meets up with her friends in a restaurant or bar.
I had a happy life in the city. And then my daughter was born, and my beautiful apartment, light and spacious though it was, suddenly felt far too small.
It has to be said that Violette is a wild child! She has this incredible life force and relentless energy.
I spent two years feverishly waiting for the gates of the public park to open so that she could go and LIVE, without me saying no, be careful, taking her by the hand. But even the public park wasn’t big enough for her thirst for life. So, when she started to wash herself in muddy puddles, we left.
People told me I was mad to go and bury myself away in the country. ‘You won’t last two months!’ they said. But there you have it: I’ve lasted four years now and I, we, have never been so well-balanced.
Living with your children surrounded by nature is like letting them seize real life with their hands, their eyes and their hearts.
It’s running until you’re out of breath. Knowing the seasons by more than just their names. Touching the ground with your own hands. Coming across squirrels and pheasants on the school run. Distrusting the wild boars of the forest and knowing that a real vegetable garden doesn’t give you tomatoes in December…
My children invent thousands of stories, forage for mushrooms, recognise the jay by its song.
They are connected to life itself. They run their fingers over the red bark of the cork oaks, and collect their own pine kernels.
They save washed-up starfish after school and watch the sun set over the ocean. There is always sand between their toes and their hair always smells of bonfire…
Sure, I go to the cinema less now.
I hardly ever eat sushi and I rarely set foot in a shop. The children get crazy excited when they see an escalator. They all take up loads of space on the pavement and think pigeons are exotic animals! When I see them taking up that much space as they walk around town, I say to myself, with my city-girl heart, that I’ve done the right thing by them.
Fly from place to place, little ones.
With earth under your nails and sand in your slippers, always. And in the depths of your pockets a conker or a shell – precious treasures.
May your roots always run as deep as those of the cork oak and may your steps always be as light as those of the wren who nests in our tree, because as you grow up, this incredible force will be with you, wherever your path may lead.