So. This is it.
In two days I will climb into the car and drive out of the Outpost for the last time.
It will be odd to think I no longer live here. And the decision to go, when it came, was sudden so that the packing and planning and collapsing of a life into boxes has consumed me. Until now, when there is a moment to sit with a mug of tea, Pili at my feet, and reflect as I gaze across a garden which is bushy tailed and bright eyed so that it will be sad to leave it: the lawn is green and lush; the frangipani voluptuous and the flamboyant bowed low, low with the weight of fiery blossom.
It is difficult to know what to say. How to concertina five years into five hundred words. I have hissed and spat and sworn and flailed. I have laughed and danced and learned. I have telescoped my view to render manageable sometimes overwhelming horizons. I have had time (sometimes too much time) to stop and smell the roses (metaphorically speaking, of course, no roses here). And now – where I’m going – I won’t have the luxury of a slippery commodity which slides too fast in the real world but had a tendency to plod in the Outpost so that I occasionally felt certain my watch must have stopped. I will be reminded – where I am going – that Time is precious.
The Outpost has changed in the years I have been here. It’s had its edges knocked off; it’s softer, a gentler place to be. Some of that is because outside influence has moulded it thus. Some of that is because I have changed. The Outpost has taught me some stern lessons and lent the time, the opportunity, the excuse, the sanity preserving need to expand to fill the swallowing space that surrounded me. I will never, ever regret the – almost – five years that this has been home. In my most graceless moments I never imagined that lucky is how I’d feel for having lived here. But lucky I have been.
Without the Outpost I’d never have had the chance to teach Hat, have her glorious, uplifting, sunshine company for three years at home instead of incarcerated at school; I might never have had the liberating justification to stick two fingers up to convention; I’d never have the seen the places I’ve seen, travelled the long, lean, lonely miles with just tea and Ant for company, precious road trips together to talk and plan and dream. I’d never have written as many words or made my foray into glass (nor, granted, patronised Elastoplast to the extent I have). Without the time my solitariness has afforded me I’d never have had the hours I needed at a time my big kids needed me to have those hours, across the ether, to research what they needed researching because they – in their faster paced world – didn’t have those hours, that time. I’d never have learned about the sex lives of chimps without that (such is the dictate of an anth/arch undergrad).
My life isn’t an extraordinary one. But, for the Outpost, it has been less Ordinary.
Without it, I wouldn’t have felt the compulsion, the need, to write, to rant, to describe the minutae to fill the space, to whisper in cyberspace that which was sometimes hard to say out loud (not least because talking to myself might have endorsed the madness the isolation sometimes nudged me towards).
In short, without the Outpost, I wouldn’t have begun to blog.
I thank you all for accompanying me – championing me – on this journey.