I can’t shut my suitcase. Most of what is in there is irrelevant. Sun cream, malaria stuff, tapestry wools, gifts and a few clothes. In fact, the clothes give the least resistance being soft and foldable. Laying things out on the bed for a few days prior to the panic pack has soothed me. It doesn’t look like much stretched over the length of a human plus width but now, now, I try to contain it, it becomes a monster. I sigh. I shout. I begin again. Chuck this, forget that, only one pair of shorts because I can wash shorts overnight and they will be dry in minutes. I can even leave them out overnight, but that wouldn’t be wise. Who knows what creature might huddle within a fold or a pocket? Creatures out there have stings and teeth and attitude. Ok, less frocks. I always wear the same one or two anyway, the ones that allow no body escapes which works well with the culture. I never saw any African escaping from a frock.
Back here, Autumn twiddles her fingers. The starboard shore of the loch shows me rocks and kelp rising into a well fertilised grass field and then on, up and up, to the felled forestry that leaves a landscape of ghosts, ridged, bland, dead, for now. Ben Mhor is a cloudhead, it’s sharp peak lost in what looks like Einstein’s hair.
The tide flows in, moving from flatwater, that in- between time when nothing moves at all, then bursting into action. I can see the waters flow, feel the fish slide in, know that the gulls will come, that a seal and an otter will become one with the flow, their eyes on supper.
David and Linda walked by just now and I beckoned them in. 50 years they have been coming without a single break. Once, in Tapseteerie days, they stayed with us and we became friends. This evening, the evening when I am travel-anxious and considerably less frocked up, we talked of birds and skies and other marvellous things and I am glad. A dip into what appeared as flatwater suddenly lifted into action because of their visit. It told me this.
In the real truth of life, we only ever need people. Things will follow, but things will only ever be things. People, on the other hand, are never ‘only’ anything.