If I have to do the weekly shop (which is Mr HB’s job, on the basis that ‘I spend too much’), I like to go first thing – I didn’t during lockdown, of course, as the early hours were a time for vulnerable folk to shop. Driving out the village at 6:20am always feels a little exciting – so much of my life is house and child-bound and yes, I might be awake early, but getting out of the house is another story.
It’s still our first year at the new house, so my spirits rose as I passed a tree in full blossom on the side of the A7. The Japanese have it right with hanami, a tree full of flower is something to take time over, celebrate.
Yesterday was Blossom Watch day. Grateful to be on trend, for a change.
The wind has been what I believe is known as ‘blowing a hooley’ these past two nights. March is coming in like the proverbial lion, roaring through the trees behind the house as we lie cosy in bed.
You say you wonder how much quieter it is on the other side of the street. That it’s like being in bed on a ferry, or with the dehumidifier on.
I say I wouldn’t swap our house with any of the others around here. I couldn’t believe we found a new build with a view of trees over a valley out the back. It was the main thing that made me sure this was the house for us.
The wind pushes itself through the branches. I cover myself up with the duvet and the blanket, and drift off into peaceful sweet sleep.
I walk carefully, through a natural tunnel – one that you could easily miss – fringed with needled branches. Then the space unfolds itself out into the living cathedral of a circular yew tree.
The shouts of the children become half-remembered, as I taste the quiet that lingers in the air here, a flavour of peace. Even bird song is hushed. The silence, or muted noise, as the children duck under branches, disappearing into the network of spreading branches, holds poignancy within a twigged basket.
I breathe the green and brown smell: fresh growth and old wood. As I move through filtered light, drawn as always to touch the rough bark of the largest trunk, feeling this wood of a thousand years, a million needles cast off under my feet. An indoor outdoors.
Calm replaces my busy, and I am at peace.