Several weeks back I was having a DM convo with a friend on Instagram. My friend was talking about wanting to write a book, and the struggle of finding the time to write, not only in physical time, but in having the head space to sit and focus. This resonated with me completely. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time. Writing for work is different because it’s work, but writing for the pleasure of putting words together and expressing thoughts or experiences – well, that’s a different challenge. Yet, as we were saying, we make time for other things, like Instagram. I devote so many hours there, particularly on the lads’ account, so, as my friend said, why not spend an hour a day writing? Just an hour. How hard can that be?
It’s been a while. I know I’ve said this before, but I didn’t mean to be away from this space for two+ months. My last post was at the start of January, still in the depths of winter, feeling grateful for a coastal walk with some beautiful shifting light, and here we are, almost three months on with longer days and new spring life budding around us. I am so grateful to see the end of winter. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer cold weather to summer’s warm and humid days, but the light… I’ve been longing for the return to light.
And so here we are, in January, and a new year lies ahead. I hope your New Year was a mellow one, and I certainly hope it was a healthy one (said as I’m on day 14 of a lurgy that’s only now getting better – and very slowly). We had a few things planned for this break that didn’t happen thanks to LurgyFest, and also thanks to the rain fest that came our way just after Christmas, but by that stage, when I was choked with the cold, I was glad of a few days where I had an excuse not to leave the sofa.
For years, Christmas brought stress. What to buy, who to buy for, how much to spend, how to afford any of it. What to do on the day. It’s easy to get caught up in the expectations. A few years ago, we decided to step aside from all of those expectations and have the Christmas that we really wanted: quiet, just the four of us, without the pressure of cards or gifts (we donate to animal rescue charities instead), and with a walk as the focus on our day. And for the last few years, that walk has been here, at John Muir Country Park. This has become our tradition.
In my previous post, I mentioned how we’d spent November misjudging how quickly it was going to get dark on our weekend walks, but looking back through photos, I realise we were doing the same in October. As on this walk at Yellowcraig when the clouds were gathering around us, hanging heavy over the Forth with the promise of rain.
I’ve got into the habit of taking more videos than photos now on these coastal walks – not consciously, but then I come to edit the photos and realise I don’t have as many as I would have had months ago. I’m crediting Instagram reels for this shift. Having been monumentally slow to embrace reels, I’m now veering towards them more and more on the lads’ account, albeit less so on my own. Often that 60 to 90 seconds of video feels far more descriptive of what our walks together feel like, with the lads running ahead of me along a beach or winding along the dunes paths. A still photo can feel like a great view, whereas a reel can feel like an adventure. And sometimes that means we’ll come home and I might only have a handful of photos, as here, after this frozen November walk at Yellowcraig.