The movers are here now. I type this against the background chatter of ripped masking tape and heavy cardboard boxes being assembled by rough, experienced hands. Tonight this flat will be empty save for two beds and the three of us. In just under 60 hours the plane will lift off from Heathrow, bound first for Dubai, then on beyond to Melbourne.
We are away to Tasmania.
Eight years and two months ago, almost to the day, I arrived in Edinburgh without a clue of why or really how I had come to Scotland. I spent that first summer alone, walking and watching. The Make Poverty History march astounded me, and the warm sunny days and lingering twilights tricked me into thinking it would always be this way.
It wasn’t. With November came the long gray, the wind and rain, the real teeth of the place. And somehow it suited me, all of it. Especially the young Scottish woman who wouldn’t leave, even when I insisted she must. She stayed, and we were married on the High Street one glorious day in September. And not so long after that came our son.
There were lots of life lessons, some harder than others. I learned things about myself, and other people, and not always the best bits. Humility is not the easiest meal. But there were also fine triumphs, a sense of helping move a community forward, of building a common vision that dared to see beyond the next horizon.
And there were friends, especially among the poets. What generous people they are, the poets of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Cambridge and London. How easily they share their words, their praise and their pints. They are the ones I will miss the most.
We are excited, we are nervous, we are eager to get on that plane. Most of all, we are happy.
Come see us. We will be easy to find. Just travel to the end of the road and listen for the laughter.