My new life
Viewed from below, the treeline looked naked and exposed. It was as if somebody had shaved the trees at the bottom of the hill but left those at the top untouched. Stubble on a giant’s chin.
Instead of growing branches and leaves to protect their exposed sides, the trees on the edge of the forest simply looked upward. Like the rest of their order they did not waste energy on foliage that grew below the canopy, foliage that should never have seen the light.
The year was running on and the sun did not sit high nor long in the sky. What use would leaves be on the darkened side of a hill?
I had parked my motorcycle at the house and walked towards the bridge. Ordering a coffee from the nth café in the hopes that this one would be half-decent I made my way to the centre of the bridge. There were no pavements but the roads were quiet and in the centre of the bridge was a little cut-out, a respite from the traffic – if there was any – crossing from the south side of the river to the north.
I took a sip of my coffee and felt the brownie within my pocket, wrapped in its protective brown paper. Shrugging, I took another sip. It would do. In a pinch, it would do. The river, running quickly below, gargled in agreement. I saw a small branch float quickly downstream. It had chosen the right path, the one not blocked by protruding rocks, entangled bits of tree, or shallow pools.
I watched it disappear into the distance.
Another sip. It looked official. Not the small branch, my new life. I am in the highlands of Scotland. I began the new job two weeks ago. I’ve settled into my new place. I am officially beginning my new life.
Up ahead, in the path my mind takes to plan and determine my future, I see a grey haze. Before it, the trees and hills are orange and red with the dying leaves of autumn; the weather is wet and cold – this is Scotland after all. The smell is the smell of pine.
I see my new job and the faces I am beginning to learn. I see my roles and responsibilities. Some expected, some… less expected. For the most part it seems good. But I cannot see how far into the distance my new life takes me. After a while it all just fades to grey.
Maybe this is normal, although I always assumed most people at least have a plan for their future even if that plan eventually changes. I don’t have a plan. I don’t even have a pl (that’s a quote from somewhere but I can’t remember where).
I should say, I am not worried about this grey haze in my distance. I am simply intrigued. Right now my focus is elsewhere. It is on starting the job, on beginning to write again, on making sure I am prepared for a cold, Scottish winter. That third focus is somewhat less existential than the rest but still a very serious matter.
A car has just turned onto the bridge. I look towards the noise and see a black Landroveresque vehicle drive past. The driver glances disinterestedly. I turn back to the river to see my thoughts wash away in its current.
It is cold and my coffee and brownie are almost finished. I look both ways and step off the respite and onto the road. I walk down, away from the naked trees of the hill above me and towards the village that I now call home. Well, home-ish. I’m not sure anywhere is really home, not by its deeper meaning of connection and belonging.
I place my empty coffee cup in the bin and carry on my journey into the grey.