After the unrelenting, soul flattening steamroller that was September, I made a conscious decision this weekend to Just Stop. Stop running around, stop fretting, stop over thinking, stop trying to anticipate every next move that might or might not be made. How about just being, I asked myself. And consequently found myself walking the dog a good deal further and higher than I’d originally planned.
Up up up the yellow brick road to where the trees met the sky and I could feel, up there at least, a little of the burden shift from my shoulders.
I love this hill we live at the bottom of, and the way the landscape lays itself out for us like a jeweller’s display. Still, even at this height, we were only two thirds of the way up. Choosing not to attempt the remaining third, I turned right and followed the path to where I’ve never explored before.
Past the field of maize and remembered a long ago holiday in Brittany; my parents, my grandparents, my sister and me. Stopping for a roadside snack one day, we’d pulled up near a field of, my grandad (beloved but undeniably cocksure of his own opinion) insisted, beautifully big and yellow-sweet corn on the cob.
It was not. Maize does not taste the same as sweetcorn At All. I like having these memories of him: he was such a complicated character. Unfailingly generous and kind to us children, he could nonetheless be a bit of a tyrant. Bombastic and larger than life. Trying and impatient. I still miss the smell of his cigars.
So I walked a little ways down past the maize, thinking of him and the discoveries made this year, past the big sturdy barn (I’m secretly envious of barn owners – not the converted ones but the honest-to-goodness working barn with wisps of straw and bits of tractor and a colony of bats in the roof). Saw the land suddenly dip into inviting green spaces: fourteen years of living here and this place still surprises me. Decided that I’d rather explore this on a weekend the Teen is with me, so retraced my steps.
Back down the yellow brick road, past the woods that had been my original goal, stopping to watch a family of buzzards circle and call above the trees. Buzzards are commonplace around here (the red kite that lives in the area is a little more elusive) but I still love to see them. Have you ever seen them from above? They have beautiful markings on their great big wings. Sometimes when I’m walking under trees, I feel I’m being watched and look up to see one staring down at me. There is nothing more imperious than a long-nosed stare from a buzzard.
I feel a little less flattened by things now, a little more as though I can cope again. And for the times it threatens to overwhelm and pull me under, I have this view to aim for to put it all back into perspective:
I’m going to spend time with October as it is: my favourite month with it’s slow slide into frosty mornings, starry night skies, soups and stews, flickering candles and blankets on the bed.