It was like being up a ship’s mast,
the first day at Heathercombe,
the moors the rolling seas. Although,
there was nothing to see ahoy
save for mist and rain and tops of trees
blowing back and forth like they were
conjuring wind, not being shaken by it.
Before, before the drive up through
Devonshire villages, along narrowing lanes
with surprise bends and surprise buses,
we talked about the childhood experience
of being sent first to bed –
the youngest’s sorry lot –
about creeping back to the staircase top,
straining to hear sounds from below;
seeing only an apricot light glowing
through the crack between the floorboards
and the bottom of the living room door.
You would think the Heathercombe gales
would banish with ease these
memories tinged with tired eyes
and a sense of un-belonging.
Yet the grey hues of driving rain
and rising haze seemed a perfect
backdrop for the apricot light of before.
And then, as I sat watching the weather,
slowly, sweetly, everything began
to merge till it all became one:
here and now and there and then
and us and we and I and them –
till it all hung together, suspended, in a
mysterious, vaporous, glorious state –
the new dawn after a long night’s rainstorm.