Lately, I haven't been in one place long: in three years, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Scotland, Tennessee, and now Scotland again. All this moving means every day, the little flakes of missing people left build up. It means transportation is expensive and family time limited. It means isolation and feeling out of the loop.
But today I'm grateful for the thousand ways it’s been so good and so wonderful. Today, I'm grateful for the soaking-up-today that comes when I know I must leave a place. Things I love about that place become brilliant and precious, and I start to notice them like pieces of sea-glass; I can’t stop finding them and holding them up to the sun. Knowing my suitcases will be filled in 5 months means today I want to gather what I love here and run my fingers across its matte grain and cup it in my palm to see its colours. So, here we go. Only one rule: you have to think about what you'd miss if you left your place, and be thankful for it, too.
The grass. It’s always green. The grass is short and dense, and feels soft as a chenille on your heels. Flying into Edinburgh, you see patch upon patch of evergreens and bright greens, dull and mossy greens. November, February, and August, the grass is always greener here. Really.
In winter, the grass still slides across the land like a glove
thanks to landscapers who piece it together like so (this is new, so it's not quite green yet)
The sky. The beach is framed in by the low, low clouds that press down but expand endlessly, often touching the sea in the distance.
Every walk we take, Walk looks out at the clouds over the sea and says, That’s beautiful.
Yes it is, I always agree.
Calm. Scotland is quiet. When I first moved here, I was chided for my volume; but, now my ears are used to softer conversations, space and silence for thought and prayer. After my first ten months in Scotland, when I got back to America, I literally wanted to cover my ears and yell for everyone to please quiet down. I got over it, but silence, I've learned in poetics, needs to be cherished. (Photo credits to my amazing-photographer husband on these and a few others in the post.)
The stone walls. Natural and ancient, they demarcate the land, the houses, the streets. Sidewalks are very narrow (several inches) at points, because the walls are older than the roads.
The wooden fences all along the beach. They remind me of Maine, so I like 'em
All this attests to Scotland’s unity with its land. They are fierce and protective of their rolling hills and stark highlands, their heritage, their beaches and their independence. Consequently, their country is largely immune to fads which would destroy the earth's glory. It's nice to live in such a place of refreshment and clean air, space and civility. We like.
Speaking of civility, don't take this the wrong way, but I like that sidewalks run along the houses; they're intriguing. Walk and I walked up to the Royal and Ancient Golf Club today to do some visual eavesdropping. Leather chairs in tight circles was our single, lame discovery. But this---this is my favorite room I've ever peaked at in St Andrews. It was the green library lamp and mahogany desk that got me. That and stacks of books; whoever lives here must be dapper and classy.
I like to imagine the gentleman who lives here golfing in the morning, taking lunch, then reading a bit in his dark library with his tea. Scotland does have teapots full of sophistication if you know where to look.
Most days, Walker and I take wellied sunset walks on the beach. I still have to remind him not to splash me in his enthusiasm for puddles and his wellies, which he assures me he does not love more than me. We stop and turn around to look back at the town getting smaller in its pink glow, and then turn to the right, to see the hills' silhouettes. He picks me up and holds me tightly, and then puts me down and we walk on, racing to step on crisp razorshells. Sometimes he lets me take them, because he's nice like that. I will miss our walks more than anything, our time to load our lungs with salt air, and talk or be quiet, holding hands.
Happiness has nothing, ultimately, to do with place. But, because of Him, I am happy here. And knowing I will miss it means living here must be pretty sweet. (It is.)