Here I go again.
Travelling off to see people for New Year’s Eve. Quite the social butterfly. I’m sitting, strapped down, wings tucked in, as we race through the windy, Welsh roads. All corners.
Welsh roads skirt every obstacle, and when your country is built of valleys carved by water and its wayward passage making, it makes for a pattern of roads like a dropped ball of wool.
I want to write, but glance often at the road. Not just to allay the travel sickness that will be the inevitable end to it, but I don’t want to miss the snippets of land. Flashes of scenery. Even midwinter everywhere is deep green or slate grey.
Wales is all corners, like me. Its patterns fill me up. I know I’m in Wales from the way the wind blows the grass, from the way the landscape appears as though dropped. England feels carefully placed, Wales feels spilled. We adjust to its contours, we don’t tame them.
Now we drive through woods. Gangly branches reach to each other overhead. A lifetime of growing together, just to touch fingers, just to connect. Slow and beautiful.
The road rises, down below a river, deep and silent divides the valley into here and there. More trees sewn across the tapestry. Single stitches to a branch.
I am going to see people who know me. I will be safe and loved. Just my family and theirs. It’s socialising on my terms. Yesterday I built my reserves. I rested and prepared. Today I will glow as we share our worlds since we last met.
This is not a friendship that needs watering. This is set. There is trust and support and love and patience on both sides. I have never needed my small talk here. This is a friendship built on shared joy in impulsivity and honesty.
We dip down again. Hills filled with dark pine pierce the skies, but oaks follow the road. Old and twisted. They take me back to painful knees, scraped against their knuckled bark, back when climbing trees was a socially acceptable way to spend a morning.
The road rises and falls like wingbeats, then we glide in free-fall for a mountain side.
Soon Snowdonia rears ahead. The hills meekly give way to rugged stone and balanced scree. I think of Idris as I see his stone. Idris was a giant in Welsh myth, the stone, an enormous boulder that sits atop the mountainside, was emptied from his shoe. If it ever falls then Wales shall fall.
I wonder how much of that was told to me and how much I’ve muddled together from different places to form something new. Either way it fits. I run my mind through my socks to check for stones. As though I wouldn’t notice one without checking. Of course I’d notice.
This high the grass grows long and pale, sheep are still so common as to be unnoteworthy.
Today is the last day of the year. An arbitrary ending and beginning. It has been a year of opening my eyes to who I am. It has been a year of finally making some allowances for myself and accepting my undulating levels, my abilities and my limitations, my focus and my exhaustion.
Life is not always easy, it is very rarely fair, it has many corners and ups and downs, all any of us can do is be kind. Kind to others and kind to ourselves.
I don’t usually do resolutions, but this year I’m going to give one a go. This year I will be working within my limits. Which doesn’t mean I won’t be pushing those limits at times; like now, when the twisting roads have finally translated themselves into nausea, and I should have given in two paragraphs ago.
Happy New Year, wonderful people. I’ll see you on the other side.