The Long Shadow

What is it that makes a good blog post, one that everyone wants to read, pass on to others, and go to the bother of sending me message to say so? I wish I knew. The response to my last post, The Awkward Silence, was amazing, and to be honest took me by surprise a little. It was written very quickly on Friday night after finishing watching the programmes on REM. Had it not been for that, I probably would not have been thinking of the things I blogged about. Saturday morning I woke up and looked at it again. I spent the night thinking of that brave woman who came up to me at Glastonbury. I looked at it again Sunday morning, didn’t alter anything, it was just how I had written it on Friday night, but there was still a doubt in my mind. I’d examined a lot of feelings in myself, brought up a lot of memories, sad ones, but at the same time happy memories. But somehow I had the feeling that I should publish it. I didn’t realise that it would provoke such a positive response from my readers. Thank you, your remarks and encouragement will ensure that I hesitate less often.

Receiving all the comments makes me realise just how many people get to read my blog. Mainly thanks to social network sites, people pass it on, re-tweet it. I now have 400 regular readers and subscribers. I don’t know that many people, but somehow I manage to reach out to them. I know my family is big, but crikey ! And from all over the globe too. I can account for some of them, far flung relatives and friends, but certainly not in the numbers I’m receiving. The list of countries where I have readers is baffling. USA, Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Columbia, South Africa, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Eire (yes I know who you are) France, India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand………… if you’re in any of these countries (and we’re not related or friends) I’d love to hear from you, so I can ask….why?

Sunday afternoon I managed to force myself out of the house for an hour or so’s walk. Although it was freezing cold I’m glad I did. It was even an effort to put my boots on (more due to my back problem than anything else). I didn’t really need the boots, the mud I had expected was all ice. Hearing the cracking of ice underfoot is just about as satisfying as popping bubble wrap. The sky was clear blue, just a whisper of cloud drifting in the cold crisp atmosphere. Vapour trails from aircraft littered the sky, crisscrossing and darting in all directions like shooting stars. Although I live on the flight path for Manchester airport, it’s rare to be see so many planes in the sky at one time, only made possible by the clear blue sky. It was surprising to see the amount of water in the stream. The cascading water creating a wall of noise as it makes it’s way down the weirs and rushes through the quietness of the valley. It’s the same place as I always walk, yet it’s always so different. You can normally cross the stream in various places, making use of the rocks and stepping stones that are strategically strewn as the water makes it’s way downhill. Not today, the stones are all submerged, creating eeries and whirlpools as the water gushes over them. There is further erosion of the banks exposing the roots of unstable trees, some already having succumbed to the strain of the constant battering of the water. It’s an ever changing environment, left to the forces of nature to recreate a new landscape with every change in season. The picture below was taken after I had climbed out of the frosted valley, up onto the high ground where the sun had penetrating the frozen fields. From this high point I could see all the houses on the hillside, from Springhead, Austerlands and Scouthead, and for a moment I envy the view they must have from their homes. I don’t have a view from my small cottage, but I’m reminded that I’m just a few hundred meters from all this nature that I’m enjoying. I think I’m the lucky one.

Inspired by Lewis @MaxLewnacy

I find my bench on the walk home, pausing for more than a few minutes to recover from the unfamiliarity of the exercise. It’s become my thinking stop. I’ve paused here many times over the last 6 months, considering what the future holds, reminiscing on the past and appreciating the environment that surrounds me. I’m still no clearer on the future, or the past for that matter. But I’m not afraid, the area has a calming influence on me, allowing me to think clearly. It’s the perfect setting, and the more times I come here, the calmer I feel. It should be a pre op requirement for all patients. Sometimes I do get concerned that I’m not more anxious about what is ahead of me.

I wanted to stay and watch the sunset, it had the makings of a spectacular one, but it was freezing cold, and I could feel the temperature dropping as I sat there. And so it was homeward bound. Past the cottage in the hollow, still covered in frost. I always imagine it to be the woodcutters cottage, probably two old men playing duelling banjo’s on the rickety front porch. I’ve never seen anyone down in the hollow, if anyone does go down there they probably won’t come out. I’m still waiting for the new co-op to open. Walking past it seems there’s more work to do than last time I walked past. Past a few dog walkers on the way home. Always amazes me that they have to ‘talk’ to their dog just at the point they get closer to you. Is it an excuse not to speak to another human? “Sorry, I’m too busy talking to my dog”.

At last, glad to be home. Cover up the bulbs in the garden, close the door and that’s it for the day. Back in the warm. So glad I went out, and so glad that I live where I do.


If you have any concerns about bowel cancer, or just want more information or check cancer rates in your area you can find all the information advice and help you need here.



This entry was posted in Beating Bowel Cancer, Bowel Cancer, Cancer, Festivals, Glastonbury, Health, Manchester, Oldham, REM, Saddleworth. Bookmark the permalink.

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