I live, now, in a city, where the buildings nick the sky, and the streets are quick with chatter and with feet. I live among a million shades of grey, the primary colour of every city - grey pavements studded with gum, grey pigeons with petrol-spill skullcaps and pink club-feet, grey cigarette smoke curling and drifting up to grey dishcloth skies, grey tramtracks in their clean steel lines, which make me sad, sometimes, the way only an incurable romantic can be sad - the way they run alongside each other from beginning to end, but never, ever, get to touch.
I love it, mostly. The lights, the noise. The way the sky looks like a mosaic between the officetops, cut into patches and boxes of blue. But sometimes my heart swells for the quiet, and I ache for wildness and green, crave rolling views of cool blue mountains, water braiding itself neatly over stones.
I forget sometimes how close we are to all of that. Just half an hour on the train, and it's like
the looking glass - everything reversed, the same world, but not the same, full
of light and colour. Alice
Yesterday, we went out to where the villages sit in tiny clutches in the folds of the hills, velvet folds of green and gold and brown, patched all over with heather, bright purple. We walked where the air was so clean and clear, it made our shocked city-lungs sit up in surprise, and the water was bone-cold, weaving its gold-green way through the fields.
We drank beer that tasted of lemons in a tiny pub with views as far as the eye could see, and I felt a sudden surge of love for it all, for everything. For C, his hand resting on my knee, traces of silver powder from his work beneath the crescent-moon of each fingernail, so that it looked like he'd been handling frost, or making constellations. The air that made every breath feel like a gift. New freckles like stars on my sunkissed shoulders.
I write these posts, sometimes, and I wonder if I've anything left to say. It's not that I don't love writing them, because I do, truly - stringing the words together like pearls, polishing them until they gleam - but I wonder how many of you still find them interesting to read. Is happiness - the calm, quiet kind that you live in day after day - remarkable enough to read about? Once I wrote like a hummingbird, all frantic beating, wild colour, and fervent heart. Now I am more like a
Jersey cow - sureness and solidness, quietness and calm.
I am at home in my life, and happy in it. It is more than I ever hoped for. But my writing style has changed because of it, has lost its edges and sharp corners. Writing fiction, writing poetry - those things are different. They have their own sharpnesses, their own characters, their own clean points and lines. But I feel like my blog posts have softened like butter left out in the sun, melted into one long lovely golden smear, the same words carrying from one to the next like a smudge pulled by a thumb: I am happy; I love him; I am full of hope.
Blue dusks and gold dawns, early-morning mists that wrap bare ankles like cats, or smoke. Beer in the sun so the glass glows with light like a lantern. His hand on my knee. All the words of the world in my throat. I want to do this forever, even if the readers peel away, in time, like birds in Winter, tiring of the same words, looking for different skies.
I want, almost more than anything, to touch people with my writing. I want to leave something beautiful in the world. But maybe that will happen through writing of a different kind. I write here hoping that people will leave with something - a scrap of truth in their teeth, perhaps, or a thought clutched in a fist - but ultimately, I write for myself - for the pure joy of it, but also to keep something beautiful to look back on from my future, like roses pressed between the pages of a book - yes, look at the petals, I remember this; I can still, if I breathe in deep enough, catch the scent.
Maybe it's her I write for most of all, that future self. I know how she will treasure the moments her own ghosts trapped and kept - the words in the library, the bones in the cool museum halls. This is my way of preserving my life - like butterflies in frames, like diamond-hard beetles pressed in amber, pressed in jet.