It’s the story of land and water,
of nature in its pure wildness,
that will endure.
It’s been a crazy sort of year. My beautiful dad passed over to the eternal summerlands late July. I moved home twice. I’ve been here, there, and everywhere… sometimes without even flexing a muscle. I’ve written thousands of words for lovely people and magazines, and time has surged like a storm-kissed river, carrying me away and away. It felt appropriate to retreat for a few days before the year fizzled out, to find some stillness, and where better than on the timeless shores of Loch Lomond.
After a journey of four hours, Fen and I find ourselves at the stunning holiday lodge by the water, and it feels like we’ve entered a magical realm far removed from the world’s weary chaos.
My heart fills with gratitude for such a treasured spot. It’s so peaceful and the only sound is bird song and whispers from water and air.
It occurs to me that it’s over 6 years since my last visit to Loch Lomond, but it’s as if no time has passed at all. On my previous visit, I was in experiential research for my next novel – yes, the one that has still to be completed! I realise that much has happened since then… joys and sadness; beginnings and endings; life.
Being back here, I consider whether it will reignite my passion for writing this particular novel, but conclude that the fire of it has never left me. As dramatic as it sounds, my debut novel, Light Weaver, took more from me than I’ve probably ever shared. It took my time and the roof over my head, and I’ve been navigating the aftermath of that experience. Although I made a start on the second novel, the business of living has stolen the hours needed to continue.
I may write more fiction at some point, but other writing and projects inspire and feed me better right now, and I’m joyful and at peace with where I am. Being here again brings me to this sense of clarity.
So here, in November’s embrace, I meditate on the ever-changing light. I sing and dance. I sit by the water listening to its secrets. I let memories surface – memories of my dad, my family and friends, and of the wonderful moments forever being created with Fen. I allow my eyes to fill and my heart to overflow. But mostly, I’m present – absolutely present – aware of the gift of this precious space in nature.
I watch the birds on the water… a swan family, little grebe, red-breasted merganser, gulls; and the birds on the land… robin, wren, blackbird, crow. Like the birds, I’m on the edge between this place and another, and this is where I love to be.
Loch Lomond, the largest inland stretch of fresh water in Great Britain, once known as Lake of the Elms, is jewelled with more than 30 islands, including one that has a colony of wallabies! Munros and rocky peaks, green glens and woodland, surround the loch, becoming more or less – depending upon the mist and light.
There are stories here, for sure… of people that have been before and will arrive long after I’ve gone, but it’s the story of land and water, of nature in its pure wildness, that will endure.
I know that I will leave this otherworldly realm on the shores of Loch Lomond without really leaving at all, feeling richer and stronger and more vital for having spent time well within its healing embrace. Here on these bonnie banks, I am restored, and ready to continue my journey.