High up on the fellside of Sparty Lea, you’ve got to be tough to survive. That adage is true for birds, animals, plants and even humans. But if you do manage to withstand the constant wind, the lowered temperatures that altitude brings, and the frozen winters, then you may find, like these persevering plants, that you can bloom to your heart’s content.
True, the lovely sweetpeas our neighbour surprised us with after the final frost didn’t manage to grow very tall, but their blooms have finally emerged in a little cluster of white delight. And the honeysuckle did achieve steady growth up to the rafters, but only this year has finally decided to put on a display of blossom. It seems that once they get established, a process that’s fraught with danger, then plants, animals and humans hold on tight and persevere.
It’s been like that, I guess, for our thirty plus years of living here. After overcoming hardship after hardship (and nobody’s complaining, just saying), you want to make the best of it, a kind of celebration, a vindication of the effort. And so we have, so we have.
But there’s a reason we make an idiom for our lives, when we say we’re going to seed. All blooms fade, when their purpose is achieved, and their seeds are maturing. All lives have a natural cycle, and we are at the point where the high fellside is becoming too much of a hard scrabble for our bodies any longer. As our kindly neighbour remarked, ‘When you come back from your tiny bungalow across the border, you’re visibly relaxed, settled in to a retirement mode of living.’ I guess, in counterpoint, our new neighbours in Scotland might wonder why our faces are creased with care and worry when we return, eager for a respite again.
Even so, even though we know that life’s circumstances demand a slowdown, we’re still allowed to pine for the good times, to remember with delight the small triumphs that kept us going, the surprising blooms that came from perseverance.
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