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21 August 2013
4:37 pm
Sedbergh, Yorkshire Dales (but pretty much the Lake District still)

T. —

I just spent 20 minutes typing out a letter to you on my phone’s keyboard which is smaller than the width of a stick of butter. Yeah, it disappeared into the ether over these hills. This one might end up being funnier, but it will be steeped in frustration.

It’s not really humor I’m left with as much as a sense of giving up and a slew of questions.

When did I get so dependent on technology, and when did I also start taking it for granted? When did sinking into the seat of a rental car start to bring more relief than walking on my own two feet? When did walking get so tiring where it used to be reviving? What will my walls of books look like when I finally settle down, and am I going to have to ship them in boxes to wherever that will be, or will I have to release them back into the world like once-caught creatures?

What would my life be like if I hadn’t discovered books, and the simple complex joy of writing, and the tender space of connecting to those I love through letters? Where would my mind be without all of these silences?

I think the frustration has abated, and I’m walking away from Sedbergh with “Good Omens” and “Words In Air”. My very own hardback copy. All is not lost.

I’m sorry these letters are clipped and apologetic (ah the irony). I wish you were here instead. I’m sorry about the floods, but I’m glad that you’re safe.

Goodnight,
M

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My Mooring

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20 August 2013
5:06 pm
Windemere, Lake District

T. —

Things the Lake District has:

– Lots of hikers, winding roads, beautiful vistas and… yes, lakes.
– A surplus of chocolate labs and friendly cats.
– Welcoming and smiley people who are genuinely interested and genuinely interesting.
– Hills, farms, footpaths, a smattering of towns and villages much deserving of being preserved in watercolors. Do people paint watercolors of city-scapes?
– Peace, silence, and a lot of time to read books. I already finished “Findings” by Kathleen Jamie and a book of wedding poems.
– Small post offices and corner stores.
– A gentle way of life.
– The first car ferry mom has ever driven on.

Things the Lake District Does Not Have:
– Many roads that can fit more than 1.5 cars at the same time.
– Internet or phone service.
– Loud tourists, though it is not exempt from visitors or rude people.
– My husband.
– A little cottage where I can live and write for the rest of my life.
– The kind of false excitement cities advertise.

I do not feel this world makes many demands on me here. I’ve also discovered that I need to live much closer to water. My soul feels restless and unanchored otherwise. Water is my mooring. Thinking of it in that lens, Amsterdam was incredible with threads of rivers running under every footstep.

I’m thoroughly enjoying this break, but apologies for the erratic posts. You’ll have to help me with backdating and fixing them.

The next book to read tonight is called something like “Using Writing to Heal”.

Goodnight,
M

Unmapped

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19 August 2013
5:45 pm
Bampton, Lake District

T. —

We are away. Mom and I rented a car and drove down to the Lake District. We’re staying at a friend’s holiday cottage in a small town named Bampton. No phone service without taking a hike. No wifi. Solar panels on the roof of the pub. Lots of sheep and stone walls.

We brought books, I brought writing and lots of thoughts. We have walking shoes and a list of places to visit, including Beatrix Potter’s house, and the Bookstore capital of England.

We’ll be here for 4 days, and then we’re spending the weekend on the Isle of Skye. Hopefully lots of writing time. Lots of space in my head.

Goodnight, better pictures soon.
M.