A year ago today, I packed all my belongings into a van and drove them (with a good friend, the best) back to the country where, 2 years previous, I had done the reverse.
Today is raw… a wee bit sore, a wee bit anxious, a wee bit torn.
As I write, the Autumn sun is streaming in the window onto my brick fireplace and, despite this morning’s earlier grey rain, the sky is now a beautiful blue with just the odd puff of a cloud skiffing past in the brisk wind.
This house is a blessing, a little place I can curl up in and call my own. The job I struggle with “pays the rent” and I am glad. Apart from the employment and getting up at stupid o’clock to do it, I don’t think I’d rather be anywhere else. And yet…
Life in France was amazing. It drove me mad sometimes, sad sometimes but… It was happy and fun and exciting and joyful and despairing and confusing and tiring and wonderful and beautiful and up and down and round and round and round. Rinse, repeat.
It was that : Life… in France.
So I suppose that’s why there will always be a ‘before France’ and an ‘after France’ kinda me. And so I suppose that’s why there will always be mixed feelings about it. I definitely left a big part of my heart there (although I’m working on moving some of that to Norn Iron – he’s gonna love it!) and I feel like there are some defining moments being lived in and around the whole experience… But I’m not there yet. I don’t have this all defined and neatly tidied up yet. And contrary to what the state of my lovely little rental house back in NI might indicate, I’m not very good at the untidy part.
I realised this when I signed up for an art workshop a few months ago and I found myself welling up in frustration as I looked at the scribbles of blue, green and purple I was trying to coax into a seascape. I thought I was good at this! I thought I had it down! This wasn’t how I wanted it to be! It was messy and I wanted it to be tidy. It was formless and I wanted it to be formed. And I wanted it to be beautiful. But it wasn’t there yet.
And then eventually… it was.
A year on from my departure from France, I expected form but what I’ve got is scribbles.
And so I sit, holding the ache gently – I’m making space for it today. Which is good… and right.
I contemplate the fading Autumn sun on my fireplace and comfort myself that scribbles are just a small part of a much bigger process. They are good… and right.
I listen to the clock ticking.
And I write.