Our walks have felt so strange over the past month. I’ve missed Harris (as he’s been in recovery from an injury), and I’ve missed walking with Richard (as we’ve been taking turns to sit in the car with Harris while the other has a walk). And solo walks with Bracken are hard work. Harris wants to be out on an adventure. He lives for adventures. He trots on ahead, totally engaged with the experience, and always in sync with me, keeping an eye on where I am and what I’m doing. We’re a team.
It’s been a while since I’ve shared one of these photos. I started the #seawallscapes series during lockdown as the ash lagoons at Levenhall Links became a regular walk for us. I remember the lagoons from my childhood when it was an industrial site. At that time, the lagoons were still filled with water, but were slowly being filled up with ash deposits from the former Cockenzie Power Station. I remember walking round the individual lagoons, but really nothing else. I don’t recall gazing over the sea wall, for example, although I must have.
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.
During the locked down weeks and months of 2020, I walked to this harbour often. And whenever I was here, there were always other people doing the same: standing at the sea wall, gazing out to sea, or sitting on a bench, quietly absorbing the view across the harbour.