Lighting Out

I finally did it. On my last morning in the house where we’d lived for more than 15 years, I woke early and listened to the birdsong outside my window. Listen carefully, I told myself. Listen to that cheerful trill, to that companionable calling and cooing and the rustling of the pigeons in the trees. You will never lie in bed and hear that again.
Downstairs, I looked out my kitchen window, to the hill and beyond. I watched the sun break through the dawn haze, and the sheep ambling about the field. You will never stand at this window and see this again, I told myself. Remember it.
I walked around the garden. I had placed every single one of these plants into the soil – dug literally hundreds of holes and forked in the compost, then pressing the earth back around the roots and watering them in. I’d watched roses and peonies and lavender and lilies and foxgloves and delphiniums burst into bloom each year. I’d picked their flowers and marvelled at their beauty and their scent. Could anything be more joyous than a garden?
I took some photographs and sent them to my children; images of ancient roses and majestic foxgloves with the rolling Somerset landscape behind them. Nothing like that in Australia, where my son lives, or Nepal, home for my daughter these days. And then I packed the last of my things into the car and drove up the lane, away from my old life and towards my new one. Wish me luck, I whispered to myself.