To my Daughter: On Preparing
The cold today makes my fingers ache and my kettle is going to weep if I switch it on one more time. To my left sits a journal full of to do lists and a pencil dropped momentarily, mid tick. On my right are boxes and packing tape. It’s time we left our cottage tucked into the Purbeck hills and headed North. We leave in just under two weeks.
This past month has been the business of preparing for the leaving that is so close now that if I think about it too hard, I feel anxiety rise in my throat, threatening to explode into something shrill. Yet mostly, I am calm. As a chronic mover, I have a resigned pragmatism to the inevitable point where I wake and start packing at 4 am, convinced we won’t make it. Then of course, the exhausted slump later, usually around mid afternoon, as I sheepishly admit we just might make it after all. In all of this, you, have been wonderful.
I wasn’t expecting the jubilant cry that erupted when we told you we were leaving and moving to Scotland to start (yet) again. Your sense of adventure was almost certainly the cause and I smile now even as I write this. You’ve claimed the best gift of this place and made it yours: a love for the unexpected joy that an adventure can bring.
If I could take just one gift of our time here it would be the love of outdoors and my goodness, you’ve claimed that entirely. Over our time in our countryside home, you’ve shown me every way in which you love nature and all it has to offer. Your body wriggles with excitement as we scramble along rocks to get closer to the sea. I see you whoop with joy at the wind tugging at your pony tails and smile as you dance the movement you see in the waves crashing close by. You’ve honoured every sense you have as you drank in seasons changing, wild weather and everything in between. This place has been entirely yours and it’s coming with us on our next adventure, believe me.
You see, deep within me is a need to feel space and take in a constantly changing shift of seasons. It brings me so much joy to see that same desire building within you and I'm so intensely glad that we spent time here, chasing the best of the season. We walked hand in hand with our faces turned up towards azure skies, as swallows swooped overhead. You stained your lips purple from the rich juice of plump blackberries and squealed in delight as I showed you how to shake a tree and bring down a rainfall of mossy smelling apples. Even now, I can’t break the skin of an apple, smell the dampness beneath and not think of you that day, shaking branches and laughing.
You took in all of it and it formed the centre of our time here in the Purbecks but also, it has formed a connection that unites us and our relationship. When I’ve had important news to tell you, we’ve made our way to open land, windy bays or simply a picnic blanket in the back garden. Outside tethers us in whatever emotions we need to feel and it’s where we rebalance and realign should we need. You’ve always come home far calmer and more settled for some time letting your energy match the weather outside.
So now my little explorer, it’s time for us to pack all that up in our own special way and head for a new coastline. I’m ready and watching you croon at the adventure ahead as you run, laughing into the wind? I know you are too.