There’s a popular Scottish song that tells of the travelling people who leave their stationary winter quarters to set off on the road “when the yellow’s on the broom” at this time of year.
“We’ll meet up wi’ oor kinfolk
From a’ the country roon’
When the ganaboot folk tak’ the road
And the yellow’s on the broom”
I didn’t walk past any broom today, but for mile after dazzling mile the yellow was thick and heavily scented on the gorse; weak lemony pale on the daffodils; and the dandelions shone brightly, luring in the bees and butterflies from miles around. It was one long Mellow Yellow Scottish spring day.
I should have been working, of course. Or packing for The Big Move later in the week. Or cleaning. Or researching. But the sun was forcing its brightness around the black-out blinds when I opened my eyes this morning, and I couldn’t resist. I’ve been following Trepidatious Traveller Maggie’s adventures (http://magwood.me ) on her latest Spanish Camino these last few days and have been itching to get on the road myself, so on a whim I abandoned the world of work and set off on the first 12 miles of the long-distance West Highland Way.
And it all came rushing back: the satisfying crunch of boots on gravel; a pack strapped to my back; the adventure of the open road; sun shadows, random encounters and conversations with strangers. I hummed the Yellow on the Broom tune as I walked towards the hills and reflected on my own nomadic experiences these past three years.
The rootless chapter of my recent life will close this week when I get the keys for my little fisherman’s house by the sea. The wandering years opened my eyes but I need a home again. Even when the countryside is yellow.
A storm of solar dust; the glorious Northern Lights; an almost total eclipse of the sun; and then the equinox and some of the highest tides in a century. It has been a heady week of spacey stuff.
I wasn’t prepared for the disruption it would bring. Any yet I should have known there would be repercussions, after the way Hale-Bopp streaked across the sky and wreaked wonder and havoc in my life back in the Nineties. I remember first catching sight of the Great Comet ploughing through the stars above my hill and knowing at once that it signalled something momentous.
This time the disruption began just as the eclipse cast its shadow then returned the world to daylight. Impulsively I decided to view a property that’s for sale in the village, just as a distraction from work – or so I thought.
And while it may be back to business as usual in the Heavens, my world is still in disarray. Will I? Won’t I? Should I make my (tiny) home by the edge of the sea in a holiday village that’s a ghost town in winter and a heaving mass of tourism in summer? I need a handhold on stability after three nomadic years so the promise of sea views and a fire for the winter has a strong appeal.
I took a long walk along the coast as the high tide flooded the path and white froth crashed over fences and gates, blurring the line between grass and the green deep. The world sparkled around me and the path meandered through the streets, right past the door of the cottage. Eclipse Karma.
Down in the damp hollows of disused railway tracks, where trees have quietly colonised the banks over 50 years of neglect, the pussy willows are in fragile blossom.
Spring has arrived.
It took two years of deliberation, but finally the van is On The Road.
And the first camper adventure may have been brief but it was shared with my sons.
So on this momentous occasion my view from the back seat of the two co-drivers is the one I’ll treasure.