It’s almost a year since we left Oxfordshire. It’ll soon be a year since we arrived here!
Although we’re still technically blow-ins*, it has dawned on us that we’re already heading for a second time round on everything. The boys are in their second year of the N.I. school system; our second Christmas and New Year is almost upon us, and it is certainly time to be getting the garden ready for our second winter.
There’s something lovely about experiencing things for the first time**. I like to shake things up every now and then. Like, I LOVE reorganising the furniture in the house when I take the notion…that sort of change is refreshing! While facing new choices and situations can be daunting, they offer an opportunity to experience new things, to gain new perspective on life!
Just now, I’m loving the first glimpses of autumn arriving here. The trees are starting to turn, the mornings are often misty, and the evenings are getting darker earlier. There’s that cosy feel to lighting a few candles in the evenings and watching the flickering glow on the curtains and walls. The return of warmer foods, like pies, crumbles and bakes…
I’m a bit sad that the gorgeous garden blooms are almost over, and a little horrified at the size and scale of the spider community here. But it’s been fun watching our wee furry friends hopping around in the back garden in the mornings, and spotting the caterpillars dance in the hedgerows on our way home from school.
At our old house, I loved sitting at the kitchen table with my back against the radiator, eating lunch, working, and watching the sumac leaves turn a rich red as autumn crept in.
It makes me think of how this time last year we were going through the first of the lasts.
The last time the boys would start a new school term in Bicester; the last time I’d see the passion flowers in bloom on the trellis; the last time I’d be part of the flower squad*** decorating the church for harvest; the last time we could just pop over to the wonderful Waddesdon Manor to run off energy on a sunny Saturday; the last time we’d see a full moon rise and fall over our neighbours’ roof…
Clearly, we knew we were doing things for the ‘last’ time. We threw ourselves into seeing friends, savouring experiences, taking photos, and writing journal entries****.
On reflection we had it good! How wonderful that we knew our circumstances were changing so dramatically. We could prepare practically and emotionally. We could ask for advice, tell people we value their friendship, benefit from their support and love!
Without being too morbid about it, who among us knows whether we’re on the last of our firsts, or the first of our lasts? And would it matter if we did?
It might motivate us to be honest, kind, communicate clearly, accept help, invest in our friendships, stand up for the truth, bite back that unnecesary retort*****, share our burdens, feelings and gratitude. Live in a way we’d be happy to be remembered – by the love we’ve shared and the light we’ve brought.
So, what if we lived as though this was our last opportunity to make a difference to our friends and our community? What would you have done differently today? Make the change!
* and will be, for the forseeable!
** unless you’re Joel, who really does not like doing things for the first time…
*** yes, squad. A crack team of flower arrangers, and the wisest, kindest, group of women too.
**** OK, that last bit was just me!
***** right, that’s definitely one I need to work on.