Driving south

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The workshop is over.

The School has celebrated its first official birthday in some style…

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For now, I am back at my desk, uploading photographs and trying to settle with the small dog who seems to have missed me… or her tennis balls. The hallway looks as if a small removal van got lost in a timewarp and spilled its contents in a heap of gold and paper and the fridge defrosted itself behind my back. Yet overhead a kite is wheeling… Isis’ bird… her wings gleaming in the sunlight… wings I envy, for the road that begins and ends at my door is a long one, depending on where you want to go, where you need to go… and where you begin.


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At six-thirty this morning I left another door many miles away in the north. It was a beautiful morning… one in which I could not help but rejoice, yet the very beauty of it tore at me as I stopped the car in the first layby on the moors to greet the sun as it gilded the frosted moorlands and mists.


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It felt as if a hand snaked up my spine to take hold of my heart and keep it locked in the northern hills as my body drove southwards to where it resides. It tears me apart. Every time. There is a yearning to turn and lose myself in the moors, to lie in a vale of bare rowan trees and take root. My heart is in the hills and dales of the north. Something calls me back there. Always.


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Yet I drove southwards, my back to the beloved landscape, as the skies grew more distant and impersonal, ceasing to play amid the hilltops, the fields hemmed with hedgerows instead of stone, blossom veiling the visible world in the ephemeral beauty of spring, yet robbing me of that distant horizon of curving hills. I thought how very lucky I am to live in a land as unarguably beautiful as this. I thought too how the very earth around us can be seen as an analogy for much in our lives.


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The heavens recede, become less playful, less joyously close, seemingly less touchable as our attention is caught and held by the road of necessity and the ‘ought to’ that rules our daily lives, driving us towards the duties and requirements of need and should. The distant landscape of Home is hidden behind the transient beauties and glories of the world, distracting our eyes and mind as easily as a tennis ball will distract the small dog. Yet beyond our attention, the sky remains blue and the distance is only illusory; beyond the trappings of success, the prerequisites of survival, or the veiling banners of societal expectations, the hills of Home still wait for us. Whether the yearning is a light touch, vaguely felt, or a deep longing of the soul, Home will be there when, if, we can find our way.

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In just the same way, the workshop is over. Friends old and new who came together in laughter, who shared a story, a moment in time… or out of it… have now departed. They have driven, sailed, and flown back to their own lands… some very far away. Who knows if we will all meet again, regardless of desire or intent? Yet the friendship remains… the memories… the presence. The laughter, smiles, and tears; the touch of life on life, and a shared experience. Beauty remains and its home is the heart. Perhaps we need ask for no more than that.


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