Cultivate love, pursue integrity, practice gratitude, live courageously, commemorate properly. 5 years of reflections at the end of a year, and a half-decade of this blog; yet every year I find myself surprised by what is made evident in the months put together that remains indistinguishable by the days taken by themselves.
More than ever, this year feels like it has happened in small steps which, without my noticing, have carried me many miles. Lots of waiting for lockdown announcements and ever-elusive certainty and I am up suddenly year-deep; the Glebe road chapter has been and gone.
And so it is that I wish to reflect on what it is to season generously.
This year more than most I have felt the disappointment of things which can’t be helped. The missed Christmas, wedding, birthday. Delayed reunions with friends, and delayed introductions to others. Plans which have remained unplanned, guests not hosted, invitations unsent. I am (we are) still in a time characterised by loss.
Writing this post I looked back at the words I had composed at the end of my first year in Sheffield, just after the funeral for Chris. So much of it felt acutely fresh, a testament to the juddering continuation of covid disruption which has unified the best part of 18 months sealed by a familiar bittersweet twinge upon rereading a comment from Julie, who died at the end of May.
We were given notice at our house at Glebe road in March. It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it wasn’t welcome either.
I miss the blossom tree, Christina misses the spacious kitchen sides, and Natalie misses the blue sofa in the front room and a place which was home for many years. We all miss living with Georgia, who has moved back to Lichfield.
There will be many more farewells ahead which are not unexpected, but are also not wholly welcome. And so it is that there is something to be said for learning to season generously. While the temptation is to either detach from pain, or twist the knife and hold the blade in some attempt to more fully realise it, seasoning generously means making the farewells as fond and as warm as the hellos.
To season generously is to be just as ready to embrace the next hello, even as the memory of the last farewell is in plain-sight. It’s to be soft of heart, even as the scar tissue is still mending. It’s to be able to accommodate new springs and sources of life, while attending the gravesides of old.
We now live in our beautiful piano house, I am making the most of the time to travel and see family and friends while it’s possible, and a blessed boat is sat in Exeter ready for its travel up to Glasgow.
This time doesn’t feel easy, but I’ve still got a sense of humour and an open heart. And I can hear in my head the way Julie would remark “From troubles of the world I turn to ducks”.
I choose to season generously.