Tuesday 24 March 2020
My Dearest Boy,
I walked early this morning, purposely over the fields – muddy but still firm with frost, towards the railway line. I would have taken you on this path today. I passed no-one. It’s so quiet. There are few planes in the sky.
As the air warmed the yellowhammers flitted in and out of the leafless hedges, still singing “a little bit of bread and no cheeeese!” – a refrain that must have been familiar to my (and your) ancestors. They don’t know.
I found a path I hadn’t travelled before. Still no-one appeared to be abroad. There was a log I rested on awhile; behind it I found a Reynard’s skin , nothing left of the creature but its burnished red coarse coat. Opposite me the rotting frame of an abandoned car.
The footpath rose steeply through the woods. On reaching the top of the climb and emerging onto an open field I looked behind me. A different view of my village emerged. I could see St Mary’s and remembered the Christmas Tree Festival and how you were so drawn to the plastic box of toys at the back behind the ancient wooden pews. I could see the playground. It’s locked now – entrance is barred. You played there so happily last week – proud that you could climb up the frame and slide unaided. We walked across the high rope netting together.
The small manageable spinney stood out. A wood just the right size for a three year old to explore – last week we spied celandines (my own Nana told me the fairies lived under their leaves); cut some sticky buds (just in time!) and watched the rooks constructing their nests. They carry on obliviously, still building.
Eventually I crossed a road to Sundon Hills and travelled down into a larger wood. I haven’t been there for years. I’d like to take you there one day.
As I reached the open fields a skylark sang. “Little Astronaut” – and little did I know when I read you the “Spell Song” last week how prophetic its words would be. “Right now, I need you; for my sadness has come again”. I miss you, my darling boy.
But, hey, this afternoon Grandad T and I were blessed to have a video call with you. You showed me the puppets you’d made with mummy that morning. I showed you the leaves emerging from the sticky buds.
I am sad but I have a calmness and a peace. I have new patience, untold hope and moreover a knowledge and certainty that this too shall pass.
Towards the end of my walk I passed a lone apple tree, probably seeded by a bird. Tiny buds beginning to unfurl. I’ll take you there in the Autumn. We will eat apples and all the birds will sing.