Now, in this moment, it’s all ok. All, being everything that really matters, is presently in order. When I take the time to stop and listen, to filter out all the crazy static interference, when I disengage from what is gone and stop second-guessing the future, then I know that all is well – and now is all that matters. The gift of the present.
Twenty nine of them now. Twenty nine times that I’ve been taken back to that cold, snowy morning. The two-year-old whisked from her bed and taken next door. The car, the ambulance, the pain. The operating theatre – and then, “It’s a boy!” said the midwife. “We don’t have boys in my family,” I said. “You do now!” said the doctor. And I marvelled, instantly in love – my perfect wee son. And every 17th of January, I’m taken right back there to marvel once more. Happy Birthday, son.
Sabre-sharp peaks along the distinctive razor ridge. Black granite and gabbro – a layered and timeless geology – guarding the island. Always there when I step out the door into the morning, into life. Sometimes hidden by the mist, but not today. Today the Cuillin stands stark, snow-topped and steadfast. A personal sentinel.
Old friend – like warm slippers or a comfy sweater, slipped back into easily. But also priceless and valued like a fine wine or beautiful jewellery – because of the backstory and provenance. Together, reunited – as we were thirty-five years ago – not crumpled and a wee bit worn – but light, liberated, laughing.
13. I stop amid the flurry and the busyness and really look at my workplace desk. Do I make a difference? Do I make things better? Do I do no harm? Am I true to others and to me in the minutes, hours and days of my once only life?
14. Lichen on sandstone – it formed unnoticed on the drystone wall – over who knows how long. Nature goes about her business regardless.
Pencil-line trees, blue-grey morning background; dense, black shapes flit, flap, alight, take off. Preening, feeding, squawking, squabbling. Rush hour in the rookery.
A picture and its many words. Four generations – father, me, daughter, granddaughter – look out at the world. Time – generates a backwards shackle – a forward lifeline – a cherished, present bond.
Kitchen flooded by dishwasher, car broken down, first day back at work. But the Earl Grey tea is hot and aromatic and the writing on the cheery red mug tells me to Keep Calm and Carry On. My smile is wry, but I do my best. Perspective is regained.
My bookshelves are a memoir. My biography can be read there. Childhood favourites, school prizes, university text books, reference volumes, travel guides, memoirs, self-help instructionals, volumes of poetry and countless novels – light to literary. All represent a phase, a stage, a need, a treat. All represent me.