September 21, 2018

January - I

January is slow and luminous and happy. Most days it's only us in the hostel, so when guests arrive it feels extra special and exciting, like old friends are coming to visit. They feel like friends when they leave. The sun has come back and even the wind can't get rid of its warmth. Somedays we still get sleet and snow but it never lasts long. Most mornings are now filled with bright golden light. We walk down to the beach everyday and the sunlight makes the frozen sand sparkle. Saoirse sits on a blanket whilst I gather seashells to make her a dreamcatcher. My wellies have cracked and let the water in, but I don't care. Mark gathers red seaweed which he slowly dries in the oven, making the whole house smell like saltwater.

We have our routine. Every monday on our day off, we set off on foot and walk the two miles to the village, wrapped in warm layers. We stop several times on the way to say hello – to our friend Callum who works in the abbey, to the Highland cows peacefully grazing the short grass, to the jeweler and the knitter and the people in the café. We go to the shop to buy a few groceries, and to the tiny post office to deposit our money. The post office is right by the water, and we go and see the rowing boat freshly painted red, with its shiny golden oars. We say hello to the cat who always hang out by the café, and to the ravens hiding in the nunnery, and the fearless little robin who lives in the chapel. When all of that is done we walk home, admiring the cliffs of Mull if the day is clear. Saoirse turns her head left and right in the baby carrier and let herself be rocked to sleep – when we arrive, we deposit her softly on the bed and she continues to nap. We sit in the living room with frozen hands and noses and make hot chocolate, waiting for her to wake up.

I know this all sounds small, but life here seems to expand. Through the simple, repetitive tasks of everyday, our rhythm has meaning. I had almost forgotten what it felt like, to live so simply that every part of your day becomes extraordinary.

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