Do you ever get lost while travelling?
When I walked back into the house after the long journey back from New Zealand, it felt sad. Very quiet. Dead flies on their backs by the windows. The sun, I noticed, had bleached colour from the spines of my books. But it was when I opened drawers and cupboards, and saw the stuff that I had left behind six months ago – slightly mucky sleeping masks, faded receipts, old toothbrushes, half empty tubes of handcream, leads for connecting long lost electronic devices – that I really freaked out. It took me back instantly to clearing my late parents’ home. As if I too had died. The absence of presence shook me.
Luckily, there were also welcome home cards, soup, and familiar voices on the radio. The car started first time. And late spring offers bluebells and frothing hawthorn hedges, while lines of yellow gorse march across the hillsides.
I welcome the poke to sort and discard that I got from those old eye masks and electrical leads. What was hugely more exciting and important was what happened when I opened the drawer where I keep my notebooks. Here I was, alive!
In the large book with hard covers that is far too heavy to think of taking away with me, I found:
· collages from magazine pictures that lifted my spirits and hinted at how I might shift things
· poems copied out because I loved their words
· articles and images snipped from the newspaper because they somehow grabbed my attention
· random thoughts jotted down to keep hold of, and added to at various points.
Back then, when I had cut out and glued an article on to one of those pages, or written out a poem, the process had been an acceptance and an opening into curiosity. This process had continued with looking again and again, commenting and highlighting, and letting my imagination spark out of the original.
Coming back to the pages now, I was once again standing at the kitchen island in my cottage, re-experiencing the longing and the energy to change things and grow.
There was the little green notebook that I have used to save images and notes about houses, that has helped me choose how and where to live over the last 10 years.
And in a sock drawer, I discovered a beautiful new notebook with thick smooth pages and a ribbon tie, that I had started nearly a year ago. Waiting for me to continue.
This morning’s journal writing produced the phrase “now, and next”. Now, I am here on a Scottish island with bluebells and swallows, lambs and hawthorn. I know that I have to make changes, perhaps move to the city, or move south. I don’t know what comes next and that can be uncomfortable. But it’s comforting to remember that the now and the next are well rooted in who I was back then.
Those three notebooks welcomed me home, reminded me of who I am and where I have been, comforted me with continuity, and excited me with the potential of empty pages. I’m back in the now, no longer lost, and hungry for what’s next.