I’m writing this on the eve of my birthday sitting in my apartment above the High St of Frinton-on-Sea: a world away from where this journey began in the back blocks of Western Australia half a century ago.
The only sound is the click of the keys of my laptop and the rhythmic tick tock tick of the wall clock. I have just returned from a walk on the beach. The tide is out. The sky is dark. The ocean calm. The night still. I walked for a couple of hours listening to Bert Spinks tell stories from his train carriage in the depths of Tasmania and to Nadia Bolz-Weber share stories of confession with her guests in Boulder, Colorado.
The pandemic of Covid-19 has shrunk the world to the four walls of my small flat here on the Essex coast; yet I can still be transported to far away places through thought, imagination and stories shared through a podcast. I have felt trapped; like a caged animal, desperate for a freedom that I had only just found. I am sipping an Islay scotch – a recently discovered vice. It’s smoky flavour a soothing balm to my thoughts of solitude and longing. I sit here in silence, my chin resting in my hand, gazing at the rhythmic forward motion of the second hand of that wall clock, it’s steady forward momentum symbolic of time passing. I ponder what might have been if the decisions made in moments past might have been different ones; and I wonder at the decisions yet to be made – what will they conjure into reality, what feelings will they prompt as I sit and watch time tick by in 5 or 10 years time.
I have lived a charmed life. I am healthy. I am wealthy relative to the majority of the rest of the world. I have benefited from an accessible, high quality, low cost education. I have achieved great things in a career that has brought me joy, friendships and fulfilment. I have made mistakes too numerous to count. I have a family that loves me dearly. I have seen more of the world than I ever thought possible. I’m grateful for friendships old and new that have brought me joy, pleasure and laughter beyond measure.
I am blessed. I am grateful. I am hopeful.