I took this photo almost exactly two years ago, with my head and shoulders poking out of the rooftop window in our b&b in Scotland. I can’t say that I want to be back in that particular place again, but I am longing to go back and find new places to get to know. Two years ago I felt amazed to have returned, after twenty-some years, but it was a rather busy time and our family passed around a stomach virus that put a bit of a damper on our days. There were also many lovely moments and even exalted ones…and I am ready for more.
My attachment to Britain is life-long, tho’ I’ve never known how to account for it. It is just there, deep within me. I felt it in my feet on the cliffs of Cornwall many years ago…and in the ancient, mossy forests. I felt it two years ago walking the hawthorn-edged lanes…climbing the stiles from field to field…enjoying a hard cider by a pub fire. I don’t consider myself an Anglophile, tho’ I am “a person who is fond of or greatly admires England or Britain“…but it is more than that. When I was a young woman, I had very romantic notions about England (and Wales, my favorite country back then). Those notions may still be within me, but what makes my eyes prick with tears these days, or sends shivers up my spine is all that I see there that is mindful and cherished and on a more human scale that I am able to easily find here…the accessibility of the countryside, vegetarian and organic food, walks, lovely pubs and tea shops, book shops, post boxes…
near Derwent Water, Lake District
…the land, the sea…the land. Oh dear, now I am really missing it all! I know it is because it is the anniversary of our being there…but it is also because we are in a betwixt-and-between place this Spring. There are the constant ups and downs of caregiving that we still haven’t become accustomed to, and in just a few weeks our seventeen years of home-schooling will come to an end as my youngest son graduates and an empty nest looms. I am learning how to re-orient my home-making towards (and from!) something other than mothering…tho’ rather falteringly. The perspective that comes from travel, from being elsewhere, would be so welcome now, but I shall just keep finding it in other ways. Re-arranging furniture has been much on the agenda around here, that is always helpful. And I have been finding quiet hours…in the sometimes-sleepless hours before dawn, or alone with my notebooks in the afternoon to think about it all, to plan new rhythms…and to revisit certain dreams that were put away before.
In the meantime, while we are shifting rooms and making our way through these endings and beginnings, I hope you will indulge me as I post some photos from our 2009 trip to Britain…in the few weeks to come. I never properly chronicled it then, and it will feel soothing to do so now. And I will keep reading my British books and watching my British shows and visiting my British blogs…when I want to be elsewhere, but have so much to be present for here.