The thought of roses
This summer it’s about the roses. Five years ago on a trip to New Zealand, it was an albatross colony.
Sometimes I need a waymarker to get me across a soul desert or a shadowy valley, to navigate those times when I know I need to go somewhere or do something, and don’t have the energy or the desire to get started.
New Zealand is a long way from everywhere. You can’t pop across for the weekend. Visiting requires a commitment of weeks and several bouts of long-distance travel. Back then it was the travel I couldn’t bear to contemplate – a previous long trip had made me ill, both during and after. I was sick and tired of travelling. However much I wanted to spend time with my family there, I just couldn’t bear the thought of getting on a plane for so long. Even the temptation of a road trip with my son couldn’t dispel the dread of the journey.
The idea of the albatross colony rescued me. I came across a description of the colony on the South Island, and how the albatross come back each year to nest. I read about their amazing lives and how they don’t make landfall for a whole year at a time. I knew I wanted to visit that place and see them. I held on to knowing that. It got me on the plane and across the oceans. It was a stepping stone across the worry, and a waymarker to the other side of the anxiety.
And we visited. And it was amazing. And, of course, so were lots of other things that I couldn’t have imagined in advance. It was a beautiful trip.
This summer, it’s the roses that are acting as waymarker. I had to plan a trip to the south of England when it was so far ahead, and so full of big decisions to be made, that I could not imagine how to do it. So I grabbed hold of a rose garden that I’d long wanted to see, arranged to visit it with a friend who lives close by, and planned the rest of the trip around that. Of course, nothing has turned out quite the way I’d planned it – it’s been a trip full of sadness as well as love and friendship – and it’s been raining so hard that the roses may well be spoilt. We’ll find out on Thursday. The thought of the roses got me here and I’m so grateful; the thought of the roses allowed the rest to happen.
I’d love to hear your stories of small waymarkers that helped make big journeys happen!