The North Yorkshire Moors late on a cold January evening. This is truly an amazing planet with so much staggering beauty to be experienced and enjoyed. It’s really there, we just need to remember to lift our gaze upwards.
Back in 2016 that was an alien concept. Gazing upwards. Why when all I could see was never ending emptiness with no sign of light. Robbed of dreams and a way forward. Refusing to move from a door which had abruptly slammed shut and as long as I waited, would never open again. I felt like screaming but what was the point, who would hear, I’m not even sure I would have heard or even cared.
But now in 2022, as I watch the setting sun cast a golden light over the moors, my gaze is lifted once more.
Yes life might still be tough somedays but it’s good to dream again. Different dreams, bigger dreams. It feels wonderful to want to experience the world and what it has offer again.
It’s Sunday here in damp and cold Yorkshire. I so want to be somewhere else, somewhere special. I want to have the best of dreams and adventures in a magical land. The best dreams should involve Switzerland.
I have been fortunate to visit this wonderful country on a number of occasions but sadly never during December. I so want to experience that time there, but I want to arrive in plenty of time. Santa arrives on the 6th December. On a donkey from the local forests rather than travelling airmail with reindeer’s all the way from the North Pole. This day is called Samichlaus Abend, that’s Santa’s Night. He brings bags of treats. Presents are exchanged on the night of the 24th and onwards. But Santa also comes with a dark hooded companion. That chap is in charge of punishing naughty children by hitting them with a broom of twigs. From what I’ve heard, his role is like a lighthearted pantomime villain.
From then until Christmas Eve (Helliger Abend – Holy Night), wonderful street markets, festivals and processions take place. Christmas Day often marks the start of the winter sports season.
Yes one year I would love to experience Christmas in Switzerland. We live in hope. Another dream to be worked towards.
Even on a grey, bleak day, there is always something to see. Always something to admire.
So many leaves on one small bush and every one is unique. How cool is that. Nature gives uniqueness a chance to shine.
Some things are hard to fathom out. Hawklad has made astonishing progress over the last couple of years. Two years ago he was struggling to read, falling further behind the class. Getting no help from the system. The attitude was that if he couldn’t read by that age then real progress was unlikely. Any help should focus on getting him used to using technology to help assist with his permanent dyslexia.
Fast forward today and he’s been happily reading a history textbook. No help required. He might need to guess the occasional word. He might read the occasional word incorrectly. But he’s reading. He’s aiming to finish the Lord of the Rings trilogy next year.
It just shows what can be achieved.
Why does the system give up so quickly on so many of our children. So much untapped potential.
I remember being told by a Psychologist of an autistic teenager who was profoundly dyslexic. She was wrote off by the school system yet she was clearly incredibly gifted in so many areas. She had a dream of learning to fly a plane. So many obstacles were placed before her. She was told her dreams were unrealistic, beyond her. Yet years later she became a qualified helicopter pilot.
Hawklad has kept believing. That helicopter pilot never stop believing. Isn’t it about time our society KEPT BELIEVING in every child.
What can I say. I can hear the rain beat against the house windows. I can hear the wind whip down the chimney, the gate thump against the wall. The central heating is on full and it still feels cold. England is grim when it’s like this.
Earlier Hawklad basically said ‘why on earth do we choose to live here…..’. There’s a good reason why here we talk about the weather all the time.
I need to distract myself. I need to focus on my dreams. To focus on the best things in life.
Time to make a hot drink, dig out some old photos. Walk again in Switzerland. Yes that pesky Yorkshire weather is well and truly shut out now. I’m dreaming.
A brief bit of sun to lift the spirits of a tree that still stands proud after many years of weather beatings. Stood on an exposed hilltop with nothing between it and the prevailing weather systems heading across from the Atlantic. Countless storms, damaging winds and more than two direct lightning strikes.
When I need a lift, I look across the fields to this friend and it is a friend. A constant reminder of resilience. But also so much more. A reminder of what life can still mean, of beautiful dreams and new memories to be made.
A Sunday in a very quiet part of Yorkshire. A good place to think.
It’s now over 5 years since I became a widow. Where did those 5 years go. Some days it feels like a lifetime, then there are times when it only seems like yesterday. Whatever it feels like, a lot has changed over those years. I’m a changed person with a changed outlook on life (and death). There were times when I thought that was it, life was over. It was just a matter of survival. But I made it through those times and I’m ready to start experiencing what this world has to offer again. I am dreaming again. Different dreams and whisper it, bigger dreams. Maybe that’s a surprising thought. Grief has taught me how to better LIVE. Looking back, to the run up to my partner dying, my priorities were far too often skewed. Maybe I was just surviving. Taking life for granted. Going through the motions. Not looking for adventures. Already personally hemmed in, struggling. Then everything changed within two weeks. Suddenly life’s safety net was removed. I was a single parent with the established script ripped up. I didn’t realise it but I suddenly had to face up to life. Over those 5 years I had to make changes, reappraise everything. Finally decide what was truly important to me.
So as I stood looking across that peaceful graveyard I could see something which I had missed. Grief was about coming to terms with loss, coming to terms with regrets, trying to be the best parent I could be to a young child who needed me AND a process of coming back to life again.
It’s been a funny old summer. Most odd. For some reason the only thing growing here has been weeds and the lawn. Actually it was a spectacular year for nettles.
In terms of garden produce this is about as good as it’s got.
Is this it. Is this as good as it gets.
My hopes and dreams would definitely say NO, so much more to come. The tired mind and body today might give a different answer. Sometimes I feel stuck. Caught in an endless loop. Two steps forward then two steps back. No clear route to my dreams. Lots of effort and then a few weeks later I’m still stood in the same place.
But then I drag my body to the back fence and I look at a particular tree. A tree that had come to represent so much in my life. A tree that is battered and bruised. Storm after storm. A couple of direct lightning strikes to boot. Once accidentally hit by a farm tractor.
Definitely a lob sided tree, stood alone on an exposed hill.
Yet it’s still here. It still stands proud. Every day I can see it in the distance.
One day maybe the rainbow will land on that tree. It certainly deserves that.
So yes I might be tired and frustrated today but that tree has reminded me to keep going. Change might not come today, but tomorrow is not set in stone. It could just happen. Hopes and Dreams most definitely still in play.
Is this it. Is this as good as it gets. LETS SEE ABOUT THAT.
Another year and another anniversary. Time passes. It never stops. It never stops.
These words will go live almost 5 years to the minute when I received that call from the Hospice. That conversation has faded into the mists of time now. I remember just a few words “I am so sorry”.
The first two anniversaries were so tough. I was in a bleak place. I couldn’t understand why my time had stopped but the world kept turning. It never missed a beat. How could that be possible. One thought dominated. Why her, why not me. The wrong person went. Over an over, the same thought. I was kinda rooted to the spot. No dreams left intact. Living purely through the eyes of our son.
Now it’s 5 years. What does an anniversary feel like now.
More like any other day. Does that sound bad….Even for me time doesn’t stop. Yes some moments spent remembering. Maybe not enough moments. But I know now. Those times have gone. The good and bad times. Just memories now. Time has moved on. I have moved on. New Dreams. Time moves on.
I won’t lie to you. Yes I still sometimes think -‘maybe it should have been me’. But……There is a phrase that can grind on me but in this case it’s true.
It is what it is.
Yes it is. That’s how it’s worked out. I can’t change it.
Memories are in the past, locked in time. I need to deal with today. Yes it’s an anniversary but it’s also another parenting day. Time doesn’t stop, even on an anniversary. Yes hopefully time for memories but also time to dream.
So how does this anniversary feel. Important YES but i realise it’s just about the past. Important but not as important living. So what does it feel like. It feels like today. It feels like the gateway to the future.
Memories will come but forgive me I need to dream first.
As I dream then what better time can there be to try to make some homemade ICE CREAM. So after a hunt I located one of those random impulse purchases that never made it out of the box. An Ice Cream Maker. Then the panic. How on earth am I going to fit that big bowl which needs freezing for 8 hours into a rammed freezer. I can’t remember that bit on the glossy advert. It just said make delicious ice cream easily at home….. So an hour later the freezer is bursting at the seems. The lid is weighted partly down with my heaviest kettlebell.
Wait patiently for 6 hours….. I’m sure two hours won’t make that much difference.
So in went the dairy and gluten free ingredients. Lots of tinned coconut milk, vanilla, decaf coffee and maple syrup. That kinda thing. Plus cookie dough….. why does my attempt at cookie dough look like rabbit droppings 😳😳😳😳😳
Then the press the machine button and it stirs…..why didn’t I just use my food mixer and save the money.
The end result…..
Not sure the famous ice cream brand will be too happy being associated with my attempt. But it is recycling….
Whisper it. It was nice……. WOW.
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