Without a doubt, the highlight of our chaotic, yet lovely Christmas, was the day that my Dad and I rose before dawn, bound for the mountains. We drove through the sunrise, arriving to a frosty, bright and hazy Lake District morning.
I have a mixed relationship with the mountains. I grew up climbing them but after the last three climbs resulted in storms, getting lost, sodden through and freezing cold, I threw my hat in the ring and got on with being a sullen teenager. But recently, and somewhat inexplicably, the mountains have been calling me and I resolved to finally answer, starting this Christmas.
We were destined for Rydall Water to climb Loughrigg Fell. It felt good to have a short break from the Christmas chaos, to breathe crystal clear mountain air. To climb and climb and feel your lungs stretch to their capacity and your calves threatening to split; to reach the summit and see for miles around. Snow capped mountains, dark clouds rolling down the hillside, mist hanging over the valley, the odd shaft of sunlight illuminating patches of tree covered mountains. The lakes are so beautiful in winter time and quieter too.
This is the place where, 35 years earlier, my Dad and Mum spent a weekend shortly after their wedding. But instead of mum and dad walking side by side, it was dad and I, and we were marking the 20 year anniversary of her death, going to the lake where we spread her ashes. The day was joyful though.
It’s a funny thing, loss. Its intensity doesn’t decline steadily in relation to time passed, as one might think. Not for me, anyway. It waxes and wanes.
There was a period in my mid twenties where I was so self absorbed trying to figure out who I was/getting pissed in the bars of Soho that I didn’t think about her quite as often. But since Frankie was born, her loss has been so much… closer. I mean, the shitness of your mum dying a week before christmas leaving three kids under 10, never changes. But, i’ve learned, my ability to cope with it does. Theres not much left to do other than to get on with it. To attempt to reflect her in my mothering, in my outlook on life (laid back to the max) And yes, the cheesy stuff too. Trying to seize the moment, not allowing bitterness to simmer, being brave with your decisions and dreams. Taking risks, doing what you love. Because you never know. That stuff too.
We followed our mountain adventure with bacon butties and hot tea in Baldry's tea room in Grassmere.
The whole adventure was good for the soul.
So yes. I realised I just mountain-spammed you but there were so many photo's, and I get lost in them every time. (I'm going to print a couple of these really big for the lounge: Instant calm!) It is my fervent hope that 2015 is a year of more outdoor adventuring- mountains, yes, but coast, countryside and forest too. It's a big theme in my list of 2015 resolutions, how about you?
P.S I am putting the finishing touches on January's Sunday Supplement- an exclusive monthly newsletter full of joy and tons of ideas to celebrate the month ahead. You can sign up here if you haven't already!