Homecomings and gateways

It’s a poignant thing, coming home.  There is familiarity mixed with the distance of estrangement.  The house smells like itself, like it does always, but you’ve forgotten and the time away reminds you.  The place feels bigger, or smaller maybe.  It’s changed irrevocably since you were last there because of the things you’ve done in the meantime, the places you’ve been, the people you’ve met.

Yesterday’s homecoming was a mixture for me – sadness at leaving behind the experiences I’d had, the people I’d been with.  I spent two weeks visiting an intentional community in the borders of Scotland, which I’ve been to every year now for about ten years.  It’s close to my heart, this place.  Its daily rhythms and habits directly shaped my writing of the fictional community in Sisterwives (although, in the novel, the characters and place are all pure invention).

And it was a wonderful fortnight.  We danced, sang, laughed, cycled, dressed up, performed, took saunas, rowed on the loch and worked in a huge kitchen garden harvesting onions.

The polytunnel we stored them in had an overwhelming smell of alliums, and it was amazing. 


Interwoven with the sadness of homecoming, there’s also apprehension.  The months ahead will be challenging; life will get increasingly busier with the imminent launch of Sisterwives, and it will be hard to hold on to that spaciousness of spirit I’ve cultivated these past weeks.  But there’s excitement too, from where I’m standing, on the brink of being published for the first time.  It’s a liminal space: like the half opened south gate of the community’s garden, there’s the promise of adventure and different experiences; and a peek into tempting new territory beyond.




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