Monday, 22 November 2010

Echoes, silence, patience and grace

The first thing I noticed, long before the cows and the sheep lazing around outside, or the big old trees bent and withered and aged with harsh westerly winds, was the silence. It was so loud my ears hurt. I drove and drove through the silence, wipers swishing as the rain sluiced down and I crept through the deep fog. Turning off the radio because it didn't fill the silence but amplified it. The big emptiness in the car.

I got here and opened up this strange house and felt like a burglar, wandering around wearing someone else's shoes. It was so strange. This is not home, and yet for a few more weeks it will be. The cheap fixtures and paint in the unattractive colours and the narrow single bed. The very low ceilings so unlike my cathedral high airy room at home and the tiny little wardrobe where hangs my beautifully ironed clothes.

I drove here from Mum and Dad's house tonight, marvelling at how big the sky was. The dome endless, ringed with clouds with starry lights twinkling away. And I felt so horribly alone. Usually the car is filled with noise, even when asleep there are the little whistles and snores and that sound of warmth and life. Of feeling sated and full and surrounded by family. But none of that here, in this strange little house with cows leaning conspiratorally over the fence and gossiping to one another about the strange goings on.

As I pulled off the highway onto the exit for the little town that now counts me as its medical superintendent I was suddenly aware of light, in the car, on the graceful limbs of the majestic trees, as sailing from between drifts of clouds came the moon. Perfectly round and silver in the very big sky she filled the car with light and took away the silence.

I am not frightened any more, the task does not seem daunting any more. I know I will be OK here, sitting crosslegged in the middle of my ugly single bed, with my computer on my lap sorting out my brand new (and ludicrously expensive) dongle.

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