The place the Rylanders call Earthward is a gorgeous, deciduous woods situated between the prairies to the west and the pines east and north. Earthward is 40 acres of teaming flora and fauna with a house built into the side of a moraine, aka – a sturdy pile of gravel, sand and clay created by glacial movement. I fondly refer to this semi-underground house as a “hobbit hole,” and if you are a fan of J.R.R Tolkien, you know this means comfort.
Edith and John also built Birch House, a sweet creaky cabin with a composting toilet, a reading room, and a bedroom curtain separated from the “living room” – a space with a wood burning stove to heat the space, along with a refrigerator and a couple of couches/make-shift beds and a rocking chair. And books! Lots and lots of books, tidy on their many shelves.
Visiting Earthward is a journey into the lifestyle humans – Homo sapiens – were biologically designed to live. By that, I’m not exclusively referring to Earthward’s bio-zone, but to the sustainable design of Earthward. In its respectful utilization of space and environment; in its close connection to the what the land offers for living. Water from the well, saving rainwater to nourish the gardens, never over-harvesting the land or over-hunting the animals. In harmony, in balance, as best can be.
Earthward, and its beautiful custodians, is a place of conservation and reverence. The woods welcomes you, on its terms. Pay attention and you can survive and thrive. Disregard the rules of the woods, and it will take you.
That said, Earthward is also a place of happiness, fun, frolic and wonder. There’s humor at Earthward, and their metallic tongue-hunting frog expresses it well.