I have a mass of thoughts swirling round my head that I’m failing to tame into sentences, but somewhere in amongst it all, there’s a eulogy to taking chances, a hymn of praise for seizing the day, an ode on the joy of living your life rather than merely existing. That’s what this summer’s been about. Because you only have the one life, one set of chances, and who knows what’s waiting round the corner?
Wandering alone up the Northumberland coast? A lifesaver. And that day walking through the rain may have been the best of all.
All by myself across miles of empty beach.
Skye and back in four days? Absolutely worth it. We packed so much into that time, and I arrived home exhausted, but with a head crammed full of new memories.
The Storr. Once we’d climbed up here, we felt capable of anything. (Memory is a wonderful thing- give it another week or so, and I’ll completely have forgotten how much my knees hurt on the way back down, and the abject wailing which stairs prompted for the next 24 hours…)
And the coral beach. One of those places you can go in your head, on the bad days (you know when I have that vacant expression… yeah, I really am miles away…) It could be just a pretty picture, but when I look at that image, all the sensations flood back: the icy tingle of the water, sun on my skin, sharp-edged sand-and-shells underfoot, the seaweed stench.
Then the sun going down over glassy still sea. If you haven’t been to the western Highlands, or the islands, I don’t know if you can understand. It’s what keeps on dragging me back, again and again.
And those tiny ephemeral moments you can’t capture on camera. The family of weasels crossing the road in one long sinuous wriggle in front of the car (and the one little weasel who remembered the Green Cross code and stopped, looked and listened until we’d passed by.) The bird of prey (hen harrier? I really am going to get myself that bird book soon) that glided so low across the windscreen, I know I flinched. Winding down the window after a rainshower, and realising the damp air smelt of the Highlands, that we were nearly there.
I’m not much good at sitting at home. I’d been back in the house for less than half an hour on Tuesday night before I was arranging an outing for the next day. Just in case. Making hay whilst the sun shone. Because we’d all rather believe we have endless days ahead, but what if…? And even the most dedicated optimist has to acknowledge that summer will end. So off we went out, banked ourselves another day full of memories*, made some more plans.
In a few minutes (if I ever finish packing) we’re off back to Tiree. All five of us. It’s kill or cure. I feel I’m coming back in a circle, to where the summer began.
*Analogy shamelessly stolen, because it was too apt not to.