Embercombe Community North of Dartmoor

Embercombe Dartmoor 07/08 2012

So, now it’s the 20th of July, arriving at Embercombe and…. it’s my 4th month of volunteering in England. So far, it’s been a Quest with treasures on my path. This is the essence of Embercombe’s mission and vision, I think. It’s a quote from Tim Mcartney’s book “Finding Earth Finding Soul:

“For we are one people and we have to find ourselves again in order that we might find each other”.

Embercombe is a place to discover, adventure, dream and vision quest, where children are in the centre of love and care. Tim “Mac” Macartney founder of Embercombe (www.embercombe.co.uk) introduces the “Children’s Fire” to the attendees of the Qi Global summit in Singapore.


He speaks of how over a period of 20 years he was trained by a group of mixed-blood Native Americans to appreciate that many ancient cultures used to govern themselves by a fundamental guiding princiciple, “no law, no action, shall be made that harms the children”…the Children’s Fire  (a small flame or fire) was placed at the centre of their meetings as a reminder of this principle. Mac was encouraged and inspired to bring this idea to the places he worked, in business and as far as his sphere of influence can reach. He invites us to consider, “what kind of culture is it that would not place the Children’s Fire at the centre of its decision making bodies and halls of power?”

Tim Macartney is one of the founders of Embercombe and he received the money for the creation of his dream, by a client who was impressed and grateful, having gone through one of Mac’s business training programs.

For the time being, I cannot find meaningful words to describe all that I experienced at Embercombe. It’s been intense and beautiful, while meeting  people of all ages, sharing meals and coffee breaks, chatting. I’ve shared tears in the morning circle, smiles and many hugs, found beautiful people among volunteers and community-members. I’ve shared precious moments, in deep conversations, our hearts touching.

I worked in the garden, the kitchen and the forest, during the Summer Camp we had 150 people on site and I took care of children, while the parents were discussing  parenting and issues, needing to be addressed. There’s a lake, down the hill, where we cooled off in warm humid days. How often we yelled to each other “Are you going for a swim today?” nodding and smiling, looking forward to it.

Bonbalina grey calf near Embercombe 07-2012.png

Grey calf Bonbalina, my little friend, which I found on the hilltop near Embercombe, on her own, soon after reunited with her mother, by the farmer and his wife, whose daughter gave her this name.This adventure with Bonbalina was one of nature’s magical spells, as I left Embercombe one morning, upset about the miscommunication regarding my Nanny-work during Summer Camp, a gathering of 150 people, for the first time organised at Embercombe.

I had prepared myself for that day, to take care of small children, whose parents were in the Centre Fire Hall for their daily program. I’ve been in a  stressful job, as a Nanny, before I left Holland and I didn’t feel that happy, to be honest I felt insecure, to continue my Nanny work as a volunteer, with kids that didn’t know me, camping with their parents in a place that is strange to them, including my presence. 
When I arrived at the nursery of tents, I was told that I wasn’t scheduled to be with the children. Huhh? I don’t exactly know what triggered my emotional distress, but I felt confused, not taken serious and acknowledged. I guess it was the mixed messages I received, telling me that care for parent’s children, while they attended courses, was highly needed in this event, pressing me to be present on time, on the one hand, and the somewhat chaotic organisation of that childcare, due to the newness of all this and the unusual large number of people, present in Embercombe.
I am aware of my journey through 2nd childhood, since I’m in England, and due to that I kind of over-reacted to the situation… I mean….in fact, it had more to do with me than how matters were managed at Embercombe. I felt like that young girl again, dutiful and obedient, without being asked ever, how I felt to be such a help for my parents, with such a task on my shoulders, managing a household of 11, not growing up having a proper puberty. Again, it’s more about me than my family, to be truthful, no offence or resentment towards any of them, see? All of this Quest, including emotional distress, is welcomed.  It needs to be addressed and it’s okay, for I find much healing. It’s leaving all comfort zones and risking things, offering me learning curves, also enrichment and opening up to who I truly am. How wild do you need to be, calming down afterwards, to find the truth of yourself? Well…. let’s return to Embercombe. I left the Summer Camp, to be by myself, and walked up the hill nearby. On the top, with its magnificent view, I remembered the song of Maria, in the Sound of Music…..”the hills are alive with music” and began to feel better. What a surprise, when a moment later I found a grey calf, alone, in an empty field! This calf and I shared the same fate, or so it felt. It lifted its head and looked at me with its velvety dark-purple eyes. How happy I was to have found it, deciding to find the farmer and report my find! If I hadn’t warned the farmer, this calf could have died, alone in that field. The farm is huge and the farmer’s couple drives their jeep from field to field. I know, I’ve been with them, to see this calf, healthy and grown, with her mother and….. 2 Frysian black and white calfs. The mother had so much milk, after giving birth, that she was hurting, while trying to feed her calf. By placing 2 more calfs with her, she was at ease, getting rid of her milk in a good way. So, I probably saved this lovely beast, Bonbalina. Nature always finds ways to comfort me and it’s one of many beautiful presents or messages, she offers me, in England. It’s one of the reasons I choose to enjoy living in that country, you see? There’s abundant and wild nature, unspoiled wilderness to walk through, on footpaths through fields and forests, over hills and through valleys. My hearts sings, when I’m on Dartmoor, at dawn. Or at the North coast of Devon and Cornwall. Exmoor is unknown territory that I love to explore moor… ehh.. more.