Posted by Tania Kindersley.
The Dear Readers. Really, you have outdone yourselves. You’d have thought I had come back from an Antarctic trek, the warmth of the welcome was such. How kind and good and generous you are. I feel rather overcome and very humble.
The weather is flat and low, not at all a gaudy homecoming. I don’t care. The trees are there, and the low light on the hills, and the roots and the lichen and the stone walls. The Sister and I march round the block, talking and talking, one black dog at each of our heels.
I do work, think a bit about the news, eat a pastrami sandwich for lunch. The light dwindles and fades into a black, moonless night. The Pigeon is fast asleep, making little sighing noises of contentment. At last, there is time to sit down and do the blog. After all your incredibly kind words from yesterday, the least I owe you is something absolutely bleeding marvellous.
I pause, fingers stretched over the keyboard. I shake my head, as if I can ginger up my cerebellum, as if some blindingly brilliant thought might be dislodged. I wait for it. Nothing.
First day back and there is only blankness? This is not the way to do it at all. I wonder about the weight of expectation. I remember, a hundred years ago, a wise old shrink saying to me that the enemy of happiness is false expectations. My expectation, just at this minute, is that you are all sitting there, waiting for the good stuff; my expectation is that after a week off I should be able to give it to you. A perfect symphony of expectation is playing in my head, drowning out all coherent thought, crippling my fingers, crabbing any decent mental process.
Hmm, I think. Can I pass this off as a little life lesson? Will this serve as some kind of parable? Can I dig something out of nothing? If I scrunch up my brow a bit more and pummel my brain and really, really try, could I scoop out one tiny, gleaming nugget of universal verity?
There is something there, something about the weight of expectation crushing everything flat. Don’t expect too much sounds like the most awful cop-out; a pedestrian, gloomy way to go through life. It’s not exactly inspiring. You wouldn’t put it on a t-shirt. On the other hand, the sensible managing of expectation could be one way to peace of mind.
Could it be a sort of Goldilocks principle? Not too hot, not too cold, just right. As a theory, it needs work. I am going to go away and ponder it. When it is all polished and shiny, I shall come back and lay it at your feet.
And now for the pictures of the day.
I adore these young beeches. They seem to grow more glorious with each passing day:
The magnificence of a dry stone wall:
The gnarly old beech trunks, which always remind me of an elephant's foot:
This one is all blurred and out of focus, but I rather love it all the same:
And here are the trees, in proper focus:
There were gales whilst I was away, and two of the great old trees have come down. Some very efficient person has been tidying them up with a great big saw. This is always a sad sight:
But on a happier note, The Pigeon has got a really, really big stick. I imagine she is thinking of Roosevelt, and following his advice to speak softly and carry a big stick:
The hill comes at you from a slightly different angle than usual:
Oh, those colours. Who knew that I would be so lucky as to end up living in the shadow of a violet hill?