Sorry. I’m back. Couldn’t stay away. Couldn’t keep my mouth shut. Found that the words clamoured. That even Outpost extricated, I still had – have – things to say.
How different so much is. Where to begin. Change jangles and rattles.
I bumped out of the outpost – a place I’d formed a sometimes uncomfortable allegiance with, developed a curious fondness for – and onto the beach. Flung from East Africa’s far west where the sun dips over the hills and sinks into inland seas and found myself sandy, salty gazing at dawns that sear my ocean drenched, eastern horizon. Tanzania has slid behind me. I am back home in Kenya. Home simply because this is the place I was born, the one that tethers my particular clan to this continent; my Scottish grandfather traipsed up here from Scotland via a ship that docked further south more than 100 years ago. Yet I have spent more of – most of – my life in Tanzania. An anomaly: this ‘coming home’ malarkey. The children all know they’ve come home: they who have never spent a day of their life living here. Until now, until Christmas.
But for my husband this is definately about coming home. This bit of beach. Where he grew up and goggled and dug for tek-teks and harpooned supper over the reef. I’m in the small house he lived in as a teenager; the one built by his father, Grandad Simon say my children of a man they never knew and I only met once. There is a wind swept Tamarind tree planted to the south of the house for their paternal Grandmother, a baobab further along for a much loved Great Uncle. No wonder they are so confident of their roots.
But mine are still trailing. The cuckoo in the nest. Change is always unsettling, there has been, as my husband articulates gracefully, ‘snot and tears’. Mine. Mostly. In this hiatus of transience, where all five of us are far flung and scattered until dust settles, I miss the things that ground me: my children, my glass, Ant – especially Ant – who should be with me (this is his home after all) but cannot be yet, my words and even – I’ll whisper it – my Outpost.
But all change corrects itself, balance will be restored. I have, after all, found my voice and the words are lining up more tidily now (a happy symptom of a quieter mind) so that I can pin them down to the page. My kilns will arrive with my paintings, my own bed, more of a wardrobe than 3 bikinis and half a dozen pairs of shorts, my Outpost has been pasted in the ether so that I can remind myself it wasn’t always as glorious as memory might try to seduce me into believing it was.
And Ant will be home soon.
PS I considered – should I have a brand new blog for a brand new life? But no: I am still me. It’s just the view that’s changed.