The drunkenness of things being various
February was an eventful month, in the world and for me personally with extreme weather events, both inside and out. There wasn’t actually Snow but I drove from Kent to Cornwall through floods, hurricane-strength winds, hail and rain, skirting a sink-hole that opened up on the M2 motorway.
Once there, I had an intense few days – book launch, teaching, catching up with friends and even an afternoon lying in warm sunshine on the beach at Trebah on the Helford. The full moon, on the night before my 51st birthday was a huge golden globe hanging low over Falmouth Bay and Pendennis Castle. Everything was heightened and wonderful, ‘incorrigibly plural’.
Driving home on my birthday itself, the sun was bright, the roads were clear and a stop on the A303 to see the ‘new’ Stonehenge didn’t disappoint. I’m often guilty of hyperbole but it really was the happiest birthday I’ve had. And then, as I checked my phone at bedtime, I learned that my dear friend’s father, whom I loved very much, had left this world for what he termed ‘light and silence’.
His passing brought back vivid memories of the time three years ago when I saw quite a bit of him, always enjoying his wisdom and compassion. I was in transit, living in my friend’s flat in Salcombe, while she went abroad for a few months. I was writing a book-length memoir which meant dredging up often painful memories. I’d walk the dog around Bolt Head almost every day to clear my head, seldom encountering anyone but grazing ponies. Salcombe out of season is dark and silent. It was a back-to-the-womb time. Visiting David and his wife was one of my few social activities.
Now that I am so esconced in Canterbury, feeling embraced by all it offers, I find it difficult to imagine how lost I was then. All I knew was that it was time to leave Cornwall but I didn’t know where I was headed. I had a notion of moving to Wells – it kept featuring in my dreams – and went there house-hunting but had no epiphany to tell me why it was calling.
That summer, though, it became clear that I should move here to Canterbury, my childhood neck-of-the-woods, that I really did want and need to spend time close to my ‘oldies’. I’ve since discovered that the 1960 bungalow I live in, is on a hill where an old monastic foundation was centred around a spring – possibly that was the holy well of my dream.
In poetry therapy, I often talk about tripartite time – our need to heal the past, live the present, create the future, not in a linear way but a constant spiralling. Something was certainly healed, made whole and complete, on that visit to Cornwall last month.
My present present is rich and alive – like the magnolia tree in the back garden, full of potential. As for the future, I can only say I feel drunk on its various possibilities.