There is a lot still to share from the past couple of weeks… Scotland, Lindisfarne, Yorkshire and Derbyshire… let alone the past few days in Buckinghamshire. But it isn’t about the landscape, or the history or the stones and flowers. It is about people.
The history books tell us stories, the land carries those tales in its very fabric; hewn stone, shaped earth, tended glades… from cathedral to cottage, palace to pub there is only really one story and that is the ever-unfolding tale of humankind. We may learn the dates and places, the great events of our collective past, but that is dry as dust until we can walk with the people who lived those lives. It might be a child’s toy in a museum that sparks that understanding, it might be a game carved in boredom during a Latin Mass into the pillars of an old church, or it might be the bowl of the sky, seen from the centre of a stone circle where the sun is warm on your face as you watch the clouds race overhead… we cannot really begin to understand the history of our kind until we open our hearts to the people who lived it, feeling their lives echoed within our own. History is always about its people.
Yet most of the folk living through the events great and small that will one day be inscribed in the annals of our race are simply living the everyday things that are their normality. It is only from a distance in time or space that events may appear extraordinary or worthy of note. You never know when the ordinary may become extraordinary, but some moments stand out even so.
Over the past couple of weeks I have been blessed to spend time with many of the people I love and it was with the prickling of pre-emptive tears behind the eyelids and a tightness in the throat that I woke this morning to a last day with my friend before I take her to Heathrow and see her fly away home in the morning. I cannot complain… this time we have had more than just a day or two and have explored from Scotland to the south sharing the journey with mutual friends and deepening friendships as we travelled. I see none of them often enough, but I am grateful for the time we do share… and when I cannot hold their eyes in person, I can hold their minds online and their hearts in mine.