Weary Traveller

Standing on platform 5 at 9pm in the freezing night air with nothing but a dim lamp and the smell of urine emanating from the shelter, that I refuse to huddle into, has become my weekly routine. How has my life come to this? I used to have a wonderful home all of my own, two dogs and a parrot that amused and loved me in equal measure. A job that I liked and a group of friends to call on to invite for dinner at the drop of a hat.

Now, here I am standing on platform 5 for the 10th week in a row. My spirits are low. An empty packet of opal fruits blows along the platform and reminds me of how hungry I am. I still have an hour to travel before I reach my destination and can finally stop to eat whatever food my friend will provide for me as she does every Friday. If it wasn’t for her kindness and generosity I wonder what would have happened to me.

I stamp and  shuffle my feet to keep them from freezing and pull my collar up in an attempt to shut out the wind. I feel the tears rolling down my cheek but I am beyond caring enough to stem the flow. The homelesness and travel are beginning to take their toll. The tannoy on the platform crackles as the announcer prepares to break the news of a 30 minute delay, I am ready for the announcement, it is yet another weekly occurence that I have become resigned to.

I ponder my life and think about how I arrived here on platform 5. I used to spend Friday nights all wrapped up and cosy in front of the fire. Watching some kind of rubbish on tv and sipping a glass of red. I can’t remember the last time I did that. I had given it all up to follow my heart and now, three years on and two moves later I was standing here wishing that my I had listened to my head instead of my heart. Still I must keep moving forward.

A train pulls into the platform weary travellers spilling out as the doors open and more people begin to join me on the platform waiting for their connections.  I spot the girl with the shocking pink hair. We nod to each other. I wonder what her story is. Why is she always on this platform and where is she heading to.

My train rumbles into the end of the platform. People rush to the edge and I watch as they jostle and nudge each other to ensure that they get a seat. Wearily I pick up my suitcase and oversized bag filled with laptop, notebooks and work paraphanalia as the train pulls to a standstill. The doors open and, as always, a few people alight. The crowd that have gathered rush onto the carriages looking for seats and chattering to their companions. I climb up and plonk myself into the first available seat followed quickly by the girl with the pink hair. We smile and nod to each other. She is beautiful in an eccentric kind of fashion. I settle back into my seat, put in my headphones and close my eyes. Despite the sadness that sits with me I am grateful for that little piece of familairity and sense of belonging that the girl with the pink hair brings to me.

 

in response to the daily prompt suitcase

 

Perchance to Dream

 

sunrise in an industrial town
sunrise in an industrial town
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

Not for the first time I have sat and watched the light slowly creep into the valley, wondering what it was that sat quite uncomfortably with me.

Awake since 3am and no chance of sleep returning I made my way down to the kitchen and watched the steam rise from the kettle as I waited patiently for it to boil. Standing at the countertop and longing to be under the duvet dreaming is becoming a regular occurence. Is it age? Is it lack of mental stimulation. Maybe it is a combination of both. It certainly isn’t a lack of physical activity as I am more active than I have been in many years.

Slowly sipping my chamomile tea I make my way to the windows and sit at the bench. Peering out into the blackness of the village I look up to the stars knowing that the sky is so vast and yet I feel confined, claustrophobic even,  here in this small village in the mountains. It irks me that I am feeling this way. This was supposed to be me stepping off, moving away from the chaos and noise that is inevitable as part of the corporate lifestyle, the hustle and bustle of the city, the lifeblood of everyday modern life. So why then do I feel so empty, so devoid of emotion and so very restricted?

I have too much time to think, not enough things to think about.Just space, empty space in my head allowing all of those emotions and thoughts that I have pushed away for so long  to crowd in and fill my head with questions. Why did I leave the world behind? What am I looking for? What do I want my life to be? Is it always going to be this way?

Slowly the light creeps over the mountains and down into the valley. At once I realise that I miss watching  the sunrise. The changing colours as the world wakes up, the beauty in the way that the light bathes the earth, making even the ugliest landscape beautiful and I decide,  I must seek out the place where the sun is visible as it rises and sets here in the mountains, it is the thing that I have missed. Here in the village surrounded by mountains that one simple pleasure is blocked out by the magnificence of the mountains.

All at once I remember the sunrises and sunsets in Wales, visible from the house in which I lived and the times that I sat on the beach waiting for the sun to rise or set. The times when I was leaving my home for work in London, Liverpool and Colchester and I watched the sun rise as I commuted from home to office. Be that on the train, standing at a bus stop or walking through the city. I always loved that time of day, the colours so vivid and the sound of the birds waking. I knew that I loved it and also appreciated it at the time but I had not consciously missed it . Today my conscience was pricked and I ache to see a sunrise in all it’s splendour.

Sitting by the window I look at the birds emerging from their resting place, the blue tits getting busy collecting materials for their nests, blackbirds searching the ground for the early worms. Crows swooping and landing on the rooftops as they squawk their greetings to each other. I breathe and enjoy the moment, every moment has it’ s own sweet joy.

Slowly the village begins to wake, I hear the cows in the sheds across the road as they prepae to be milked, the horses neighing as they are turned out into the fields and I spy the neighbours cat hanging onto the door knocker in her usual peculiar fashion as she begs to be let in. All happy to see a new day dawning.

Cars begin to move down the hill into the village and head on into the city or neighbouring towns to work, women make their way to the supermarket for the bread and cheese for breakfast and workmen appear to begin mowing lawns and planting flowers. Industrious as ever in a different way to that in which I grew up.

As I cast my eyes out across the activity I know that I am not ready for this world of quiet inaction, unstructured days, relaxation to the max. I need to have a structure, I need to be industrious, I want purpose in my life.

I realise, as I sit here in the early hours of the day, that I have been sleeping. Sleeping Furiously, while life goes on around me. 

I have been hibernating, hiding from the world. As spring nudges nature to do it’s thing  so it is waking me up too. Waking me to the endless possibilities in life, to the things that I have always loved but allowed myself to lose sight of. Depression and Anxiety has a way of stealing your life and shutting you down.  The Dawn today was waking me to what it is I love and miss in life. Whispering to me to find a balance and a logic. Urging me to find the strength to rekindle my love of life and find a way to bring those things I held dear back into the fold.

I am awake, it is time to set about creating (or recreating)a good life.  Finding a balance. Life doesn’t have to be one thing it can be many parts made into a whole.

 

in response to today’s wordprompt  Bedtime

Stepping Off

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Many people would tell me that this photo is only fit for the trash folder but I disagree. You see I took that photo on a very rainy day heading into the office in the city of London. It sums up how I came to feel about life at that time. I was lost, confused, exhausted and miserable. Every day rushed by in a blur, morning and night taken up with commuting and each weekend stolen by sleep.

I read an article in The Guardian today  which stated that “UK has worst quality of life in Europe”   a line stood out to me

We may still be enjoying the fourth highest household income in Europe, but the high cost of living means we are living to work.

I was one of those people who fell into the trap of living to work and in the end it broke me.  It was that experience that finally helped me to make the full time move to Austria. Life here is very different, so quiet and peaceful.

Just before I made that decision to leave I wrote the following,

I am working to earn the money to pay for a house in Austria that I can’t live in, I cant afford the flights to visit the house for a holiday because I am spending money (every spare penny) to help me to work to pay for the house that I can’t live in.

I am working to earn money to pay for a car to commute to Liverpool 3 days a week to earn money to pay for a house in Austria that I can’t live in

I am working to earn money to pay rent on a flat that I live in 3 days a week so that I can have a break from living in a hotel 3 nights a week when I commute to London to earn money to pay for a house that I can’t  live in

I am tired, I am exhausted, I no longer know what it is that I should be doing.

I now have a very modest income, I dont have the latest iphone, smart TV, car. I do have a beautiful home that I get to spend time in, countryside galore on my doorstep, towns and cities within a very short drive, snow, sun, lakes, mountains, rivers, meadows and forests.

A Telegraph article recently stated that London and Liverpool revealed as England’s mental health spots.  I lived in both of those places and I can honestly say that my mental health suffered when I lived and worked in London.

When I have a dark day now I take a step back and  I look at that picture of a rainy commute, I read those words that I wrote and I am  thankful that I had the opportunity to step off that merry go round and take a seat in my very own Cwtch Corner.

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For Today

a watery sun
The watery sun is trying it’s hardest to break through the grey clouds outside my window as I sit here taking a break from my chores. The horses that pull the sleighs are resting in the fields behind the house and when I wander to the back of the house where the windows are ajar to allow in air I can hear them neighing and whining. The farmer is busy milking the cows and I can hear the whirring of the equipment as it moves the hay backwards and forwards, now and again I hear a mooing of contentment. The snow is already melting despite it’s late appearance and slowly the village is becoming green again. I feel a little sad about that as I love the light that it provides in the midst of winter.
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I am thinking how to move my life forward. I have been here in Austria now for 6 months, during that time I have done very little in the way of work or planning for the future. It is time that I have needed to ground myself. Time to learn how to live in this old house and how to make the house work for me. Now it is time to start waking up as the spring approaches and spreading my wings further than the village too.
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I am thankful that I had the opportunity to take this time out but I am also painfully aware that I am slipping down a slope of apathy and abandonment. It is all to easy to lose sight of what I have and what I can do with my life as I am feeling ever so slightly sorry for myself after friends have been visiting and headed back to the big metropolis that is the UK. I am thankful for the peace and quiet of the countryside but slowly realising that I enjoy the hustle and bustle of a town from time to time.
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The weather has warmed up quite a lot today so I am wearing a simple woolen dress and thermal leggings with my thick thermal socks and furry boot slippers. I am happy to be able to wear something other than thermal trousers and jeans and I recognise how much I love to dress up and make an effort. Clothes have been my coat of armour for so long and I have allowed myself to slip into not considering or caring how I look.  Another thing for me to be considering as the days get brighter and my life goes on.
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I am creating a new home, it isnt easy. I must remember that these things take time. I lived in my childhood home for 26 years and my Mum continued to live there until she passed which was almost 40 years in total. The family home was my anchor and there were lots of things that I loved about the house. It felt safe and (mostly) warm despite a lack of money to decorate in the latest trends. I have never really followed trends when it comes to both my home and my fashion. I have spent the last seven years striving to feel “at home” and attempting to make various properties into a place that I can lay foundations but it has eluded me so far.  As much as I love this house and I know that I can make it feel like home I am not convinced, yet, that this is the place that I can finally put down some roots. My soul is wandering and my heart is fluttering. I feel as if I am flying but my wings are still not totally unfurled.  I catch a thermal and then lose it quickly again, stuttering and dipping. Gasping for air and a safe place to land
I still haven’t found that safe branch to land upon.
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I am going to sit with those thoughts, not worry about them and go about the business of making a home, building a life, learning a new language and trying to settle my soul. This blog will be a place for me to document my feelings and thoughts and help me to work out where my soul should be.
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I am hoping that by looking inside myself, being selfish and not self indulgent then I will finally know who, what and where I want to be.