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Saturday, November 26th, 2011 06:43 pm
I woke up to a blue sky this morning, and sat for a while in a short-lived pool of golden light. The night before I had wondered, briefly, just what it was that I was going to get up for, today. The hours stretched before me without plan or design.

You knew, once, I reminded myself. How to be lonely. How to be alone.

About time you learned again.

I had a lovely spicy paella for lunch, and then a square of mingled dark and light chocolate, and then a cup of Earl Grey, and the flavors blended one into the next with utter perfection. I listened to 'Here and Heaven' on repeat.

Joy in small pleasures, in things done solely to please yourself.



I contemplated whether or not to go to the gym-- the gym to which I've been ten thousand times, always the same route (however pleasant), always the same boring gym. Then thought of the nature trail I'd passed so many times, but never explored.

Late November, I thought, it won't exactly be at its best.

But surely every season has its own charms-- I knew that, too, once. My exercise clothes are getting worn, but these days everything I own is becoming endowed with private significance. The jogging trousers I bought in Japan for sports day. The socks from Uniqlo, too expensive for me these days but worth it. The t-shirt that my father brought back for me from his trip to Memphis. The sneakers, a second-hand gift from a friend. The black hoodie bought at a charity shop that somehow kept me warm through last year's biting Scottish autumn. The over-long scarf my friend knitted me from Japanese wool, in its wonderful muted fall colors.

I jogged out past the school fields. There was some sort of sporting event on, and I envied the schoolkids their colors and their easy smiles. Their tendency to take up the entire sidewalk was less endearing. Before I had fully passed them it was starting to rain, and the wind had gotten stronger-- there's Scotland for you, and the perversity of the weather gods; it's a lovely day until I make it out the door.

The nature trail was all over with mud, but not so much as to divert me. The trees were bare, and what leaves still clung stubbornly to the branches were bright yellow against the grey bark. But the holly throughout the wood was green and lush, as were the climbing vines, not yet stripped of color.

I walked through the woods, and began to climb. A feathered pine reminded me of Japan. A stone wall meandered through the woods, another path branching through the gap. Abruptly the sheltering woods fell away into gorse bushes, their darkness leavened by yellow flowers. They seemed low, but still their branches topped my own height. In between, close green grass. I climbed carefully to the crown of the hill, scoured bald by the relentless wind-- the very same trying to push me off the top in abrupt gusts. My scarf flying, my hair whipping and twisting into elf-locks, I watched the clouds rush across the sky, the curtains of pale rain that drew and then parted once more, so rapidly. Birds rose from the abrupt hills around me, dark and rapid and fluttering like leaves as they battled the wind. The long hardy grasses lay flat; small rodent holes and rabbit fewmets scattered amongst the moss. Far away and below, the Firth of Forth was whipped to whitecaps. Between us, the spires of many churches-- I identified the lopsided crook of St. Michael's, the three tall cones of St. Mary's, the strange domes of the abandoned hospital.

I passed a tree strangled by mistletoe on the way back down, and in it perched seven magpies.

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