Morning has Broken

It is so rare for my husband and I to have a day off together. He works all week long in the lab at the university completing his PhD and for the past 6 months I have worked every weekend. The only time off we have had together has been when we are visiting family and whilst we are all very close, its not exactly quality couple time. But recently my timetable changed so I am now only working alternate Saturdays. We have a day off that coincides.

I mentioned how one of my reasons for starting a blog was to have a space for reflection that could document significant events and feelings but was not as personal or emotional as a diary or journal. But I did start writing in a jotter on our last day off and I haven’t felt so contented for so long. I have been happy during the last few years. I’ve not been depressed, suicidal and miserable the whole way through but the general upward trend in positive outlook has been quite recent. I really wanted to document this moment so I thought I would share it… online… which still doesn’t feel completely usual yet… despite how much I seem to be doing it now…

Typically, I have flu to mark the occasion of our shared day off, but even feeling disgusting can’t spoil this morning. 

I always wake up earlier than my husband. I have never encountered someone worse at mornings than Samuel. After giving him a snuggle, I got up to let the dog out into the garden and then we headed back upstairs. Samuel had his head under the covers so I was able to open the bedroom curtains without the sunlight disturbing him.

My intention was to read, but looking out of windows and daydreaming has always been one of my favourite past times and so I thought I would write down what I was feeling in that moment.

As it is early in the morning on a weekend there are very few cars or people about. The air is still, no breeze, no movement. Despite the spring sunshine it is still bitterly cold outside.

This is rather typical of Scotland. There is a week of extra daylight, sunshine, flowers and a slight temperature rise commonly followed by bad weather and snow…

The birds are chirruping to one another and as the new spring leaves are only just starting to bud, I can see them hopping about in the branches of the hedge below the window. It feels like the first time this year that it has been this light this early in the morning, but it might well be the first time that I have been still enough to notice. 

Our bedroom window is south-facing and I can watch the sunlight get brighter as I sit and write in my notebook this morning. 

A few doors down our neighbour has a holly tree shaped into a sphere and it means I can always glimpse life growing outside our window. 

Even though I am full of flu, I know that the air will smell of damp earth, sweetened by the sugar of fresh spring grass. It is the smell that, for the last few days, my dog has carried into the house on her paws. 

My husband is lying beside me,  not quite awake, nor fully asleep. Although strictly speaking she shouldn’t be up here, the dog has crept her way onto the bed and is nestled under his outstretched arm. She’s snoring softly and twitching in her sleep as she dreams. 

It’s the mornings we dreamt of when we lived in our pokey city flat. The double bed took up almost the entire bedroom (we couldn’t fully open the wardrobe doors) and only one person at a time could fit in the kitchen. Our bathroom was so small that my brother-in-law could only just get through the door.

But here we are. 

In our new home, with the sounds of the countryside all around us. With the sun warming a new season and shining on all the new life it brings with it. This lie in is renewal for us as well, as a family. It’s a time when as individuals we have the chance to refresh, recharge and reconnect with each other. On Sundays we have the chance from spiritual renewal at church. The week can be very fraught. We haven’t spent much quality time together recently, but today is new and fresh. 

Waiting for the Sun to Shine

I woke up with all the typical bad day signs. I was lethargic, slow to get out of bed and get going this morning. I took the dog for her morning walk and although it was a beautiful day, the sun was streaming, flowers were blooming and sparrows were jumping about in the hedges I just couldn’t let myself enjoy it. Lassie (our Border Collie) had a great roll around in the spring grass, kicking her legs up in the air, but this time I couldn’t catch her enthusiasm.

It’s been a while since I felt like this. It’s the same sensation as when you are on the verge of catching a cold. You’re limbs are heavy, your movements and thought processes are slow and it feels like your head is full of cotton wool. You will undoubtedly have seen cartoon characters with rain clouds hovering above their heads, following them wherever they go, and that isn’t far from how I feel. Instead of hovering above my head though, the cloud is inside it, forming a barrier around my brain, like heavy grey mud, clinging to my thoughts and dragging them down.

I remember the first time I realised that I really might be suffering from depression. I was writing an essay for one of my university courses and I had been slogging away at it for days. I was making no progress, two days and the word count stayed around the 1,500 mark. I just didn’t seem to be able to add any words despite all the editing and reading I was doing. Then, at about 10 PM one day, it felt as if the sun had come out from behind a cloud. It is the only way I can describe it. It’s like when you are outside on a grey day and suddenly the sun breaks through the clouds and falls on your face. I remembered why I was at university, why I loved that particular course, and why I was writing that particular essay. Within the next few hours I had almost doubled the word count.

Right now with the clay sensation in my head, I am waiting for the sun to break through again. But I am lucky, because for me these dark days are happening less and less frequently, I am still able to type this blog post and when the sun breaks through it stays for a little longer each time.

Edinburgh Wears Mist

Edinburgh wears mist
Like a diamond necklace
A silver tiara
A white-gold engagement ring…

Edinburgh mist –
No city could wear it so well
Such graceful elegance –
The sea settling like a shawl.
Not here the oppressive shroud
Wrapped around London’s East End,
Smothering the living
Rather than respecting the dead.

Here the wind doesn’t howl
Or cry or moan –
But rushes up to greet you
In a big, friendly, yet cold, hug,
Roughly caressing your face
Absent-mindedly, yet ever affectionately
Messing up your hair…

Here the rain does not drown you
But washes you clean –
It doesn’t mean
To slap you in the face –
Aiming more for the wet, sloppy kisses
Your grandmother used to give.

The weather is Edinburgh’s welcome.
Not as the warmth of the home-fires burning,
Not with nostalgia of freshly baked bread –
But the damp cold that settles in your bones
Is what lets you belong.
Some are sent scuttling to warmer climes
But for others it freezes their hearts
Keeping them locked in the granite forever.

New Year – New Month

As I posted yesterday, I have been in a bit of a slump the past few days. To gain the additional exercise that is widely encouraged in such moments, today I walked to the station in the next town over from our house.

The sun was shining and the sky was a clear, bright blue. The weather, too, can have a huge impact on how you feel, and today had a real spring feeling about it. There was no wind, which so often makes up a coastal Scottish winter and there had been no rain or frost the night before. So instead of being a crisp, cold, frosty winter morning, the air was soft and the ground underfoot was spongy, but no longer muddy.

Instead of a sharp chill that can take your breath away, scents other than fire-smoke filled my airways. It had that start of spring smell, of warm earth and grass just beginning to turn sweet as its filled with sugar by the sun.

Last Thursday had the spring sky and I found the first snowdrop shoots in the garden (but we have had snow since then). The weather will undoubtedly turn again; Scotland is famed for having  all four seasons in one day. But it is clear that a new season, the signal of a new lifecycle, is starting to fight through. It helped me feel more invigorated too.

A new month in a new year, a new season and a new resolution – my husband and I have finally transitioned to a vegan diet and have just started trying for a baby.