Such a strange time of year. The build up to Christmas is so frenetic, so full tilt and then cometh the lull, the pause before Hogmanay. I remember it well, that time at Tapselteerie when crumpets were toasted on devil forks at the open fire, when rules were ruled out and when parents left routines out of all equations. I remember walks into the days with skips and crazy games. I remember the cold and not caring about it at all. I didn’t force my feral kids into jackets nor woolly hats. We just laughed and ran for the Atlantic, her call wild and face-biting. Inside my downy coverings, I pushed my lovely silver flask, a gift from himself and the best I ever received. Whisky and green ginger wine, for the cold, you understand, and to gift a parental kindly pause from the children as they whooped and swooped like birds on steroids over hummocks and across bogs, rocks and slippery kelp to find the end of things; where the land stops, where we stopped, and where forever begins.
Looking out there today, this in-between day, I have an outfall of memories. They spill from my mind and scatter across a land I know as I know myself. They tinkle and sing, they lift into the air and cause me to follow them into the cold bright air. I see them when I look out to the little isles, so clear, so close and yet, as I know, a long boat journey away. I can hear the childish laughter from way back then, from when these, my children were tiny, bouncing over these rocks. I can hear the call of seabirds, see the inlets we landed on, find my slippy way across the basalt and granite and up, up to the sunlight. Now, their own children are tiny and I look into eyes and watch the gymnastics of a face hoping to find myself, himself, the ancients. No longer do I need to be The One in such times. No longer am I expected to present, prepare, plan. It is both a loss and a release.
This in-between morning, I took a saw to a couple of big bushes which, in my opinion, needed culling years back. I cut and wheeched and was pricked and somewhat compromised at times but determined. This may well be the wrong time to prune whatever they were but if they survive and grow again, then good. If they don’t, then good. I am done with the rulebook at this ruled out time of year. I look up to the hillback, the new and open view and I wish them well. You can do this, I tell them, as I have told myself for decades and I did; do this. When ‘this’ changed, as this always does, I know I learned new dance steps, new ways of seeing, new perceptions. That thinking has served me well. When I see an imperfection, according to my perception, I jig my head. Hmm, I say to myself. I want (not need) to look at this with new eyes. Oh, still my own eyes, of course, but slanty or pullback, lifting wider, higher. What this thinking did for me, it still does. From girl to fiancé, from wife to mother, from domestic non-stopper, to feral child releaser, from carer to widow, I am proud of me. I know I strained at the harness, broke it, ran wild, came back (with the wildness) and am still, even now able to stand strong for my beloved ferals and their own little crazies who believe life is every single moment, lived at top volume.
May the wild live on. There are too many people out there who have buried their wild. Wild isn’t a danger, but you might be. To it.