I don’t like saying that the nights are drawing in… but they are. I think having evening walks on the coast, and always timing them to enjoy the last light, means that you recognise this shift very clearly. Rather than walks ending at 10pm, as the light is fading, now we’re seeing that light fade by half 8. Now, we’re having a flask of tea in the car in the gloaming, and driving home in darkness. August is the month where you can feel the light slipping more quickly. Still summer, but with that first hint of the darker evenings ahead.
Tuesday 18 July | I’ve started this post in my head so many times, but never quite figured out how to put the words down. And before you think, what’s happened?? Don’t worry, we’re okay. We’re okay now.
But June was awful, and I don’t want to write it all here. If you follow the lads on Instagram you’ll already know that Harris was very ill indeed, and I wrote about this in such detail there that I don’t want to go into this journey again here. But those days, between Wednesday 7 June, when the large mass was first discovered in Harris’s chest, and Sunday 11 June, when he had major surgery, and Friday 16 June, when he came home from the Dick Vet hospital, were the most traumatic days of our lives. I don’t say that lightly. They were.
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?
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.