Swallows and Home-Coming

April came and went in a flash. For most of the month, Fen and I were pre-occupied with preparations for our house move. Despite moving several times in the past few years and despite having little in the way of household paraphernalia to take with us, it was still an all-consuming mission. New roads awaited us though and soon we were on our way…

We moved into the little terrace barn conversion that is my new writer’s nest on the same day that the swallows arrived. We took this as a good omen and a kind of home-coming for them and us.

Here in rural West Lancashire, we are surrounded by fertile lands of meadows and meres, busy hedgerows and secret woods, and a rich store of inspiration that is already tantalising my senses.

Birds twitter and flutter at my window, the resident peacock preens himself under blossoming pear trees, and ghost owls watch over me in my moon-lit loft.

Less than thirty short strides away from my door, one of two fishing lakes glistens enticingly. There are stories here that run deep into the earth and all the trees, of which there are many species I’ve yet to become acquainted with, are already whispering their tales. In my heart, I know this: I will write my next novel here.

Also in my heart is the sense of being at home, at least for now, which I haven’t felt in a long, long time. We are renting from a truly lovely family – good-hearted folk whose roots to the land run through many generations. It feels like a privilege to be here, although I’m always where I’m meant to be.

Being in rural England (despite just a short crow’s flight away from town and coast) means that the mobile signal is poor and, as I write, the Openreach magicians have yet to find a way of providing a fixed internet connection. It could take another few weeks before this is resolved – or maybe never. Anyone would think I’ve moved to another dimension. Maybe I have. It certainly feels like a magical, timeless place.

As my chosen word for April was ‘surrender’, I have found I’ve been doing plenty of that – in this instance, surrendering to the fact that communication channels are currently a challenge here, which means I have to carefully schedule online time for my projects and commissions. Even this is proving to be a gift. I now have long spells of quiet time to contemplate, imagine, and write without the distraction of constantly being ‘plugged in’ online. It’s only when surrendering to ‘what is’ that these gifts are revealed, and I’m adapting gracefully to new ways of being and doing.

From my writer’s nest, I see swallows flying and swooping on their stealth-like wings and sparrows enjoying a dust bath in the yard. The apple trees are wearing their crowns of blossom. Whatever the weather, this will be a good season of my life.