The January sales dominate the high street even though technically it’s still December and there are people everywhere. Out from 9am, there’s no avoiding them; unless one rises at some un-Godly hour. Already a victim of ‘doing too much and sleeping too little’, I pass; my 8am alarm, an impatient chihuahua (literally), is early enough. Make the day too long and there is too much space to fill, too much obligation about doing and achieving. In another life, this would have been desirable. Now, what is already difficult would become unbearable. I’m micromanaging as it is. Is everyone this useless in cold weather, or is it just me?
In summer, I can’t get enough of the day: diving in head first; grabbing hold of it with both hands, stretching it out, sometimes even sitting on it to stall it, occasionally digging in my heels and leaning in with my teeth. It’s not unusual either, to begin at 6am and end long after midnight. I see the sun rise and set, the moon wax and wane. I notice things to which I had previously been oblivious. Things like the number of lizards in the house, the amount of dust clinging to corners and shelves, the way the flowers open and then curl up, the lines of ants on the drive, the rows of trees in the orchard, the way the pool rapidly empties out. I drink a lot, swim a lot, read a lot and meditate. I write and sew too, addicted to the movement. Life is sweet and I am happy. Or as least, looking back, that’s how I appear to be.
I miss summer. I miss sitting outside with next-to-nothing on; feeling hot, complaining. I miss needing a fan, eating ice, sleeping with a frozen bottle on my chest. I miss people smiling, the sun shining, the temperature being kind. I miss open windows, open doors, the garden and sitting in it. I miss the landscape, the colours, travelling…
London is gritty and grey. It’s also hectic. Everywhere I look there are people and cars. It’s loud, fast. It’s difficult to navigate. I get lost.
Dreaming of ‘where next’, I try not to focus too hard on the future for there is still so much to be had here. But it’s hard. I’m restless and I’m tired of being cold. I can’t feel my feet. My hands are beyond freezing. My nose is red raw. Surely there’s more than this. But is there a place that can offer it without demanding too high a price?
by Rebecca L. Atherton
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