Half a World Away

Goldfinches against a Cyan Sky

Goldfinches against a Cyan Sky


It’s a beautiful morning. Since the beginning of December I can only recall one other day without rain and that seems like a very distant memory. At work on Thursday we joked that the Mayans may have correctly predicted the end of the world – it’s simply coming along a bit later than expected. They were ancient people without atomic clocks so what’s an extra year or two on top of a few centuries?

Looking at the clear blue sky today is not the day it all ends and I’m happy that’s the case.

This time last year it was snowing. Clumps of pristine white snowflakes were swirling around me like the stuffing from expensive duck down pillows. January and February both saw fairly significant snowfall, at least by UK standards. Out here in the countryside the drifts were over six feet high and I walked the lane crunching my way through the freezing blanket to take photographs in a completely silent landscape. When snow muffles everything the silence takes over – no road noise, no rustling trees – and with silence comes stillness. The fields and hedgerows slip into a moment of frozen tranquillity.

Silent stillness always draws me out into the chilling air. Wrapped in a thick winter coat, huge scarf, fingerless gloves (so I could operate the camera) and my woollen cable-knit baker-boy cap I trudged down then up the lane, a walk that normally takes 10 minutes but needs at least 20 in heavy snow. The horses at Holly Farm had taken their leave and retreated into the stable but every tree and shrub along the way was alive with small birds foraging for food. When the snow comes the need to eat overcomes the need to fear humans, the birds will take seed at your feet if you’re still enough. After walking the lane I was cold and tired but a cup of hot chocolate soon addressed both.

How do I recall this scene so readily when it was a year ago? I’d just received my final round of Taxotere. I was hairless, as pale and translucent as an undernourished vampire and completely strung out on steroids. There are few things I detest and dexamethosone is one of them so if I never have it again that’ll be just fine with me. Looking back the whole scene – the snow, the chemo unit, the regular blood draws, the side-effects – it feels half a world away. It almost seems unreal and if it weren’t for the tale-tell signs all over my body (and embedded in my psyche) I could almost convince myself it was a very bad dream.


Today there’s no snow. The tall trees opposite the window are gently rippling so there’s a breeze. The sky is the most beautiful cyan blue and bright yellow winter sunlight, the kind that is brilliant but holds no blazing heat, is streaming into the room. Small birds are chattering outside the window and the cats who were exiled to the conservatory last year, are happily curled up by the fire for an after-breakfast siesta. Today is a very beautiful day and it seems that all is well in my wonderfully bizarre, confusing and ever-changing world.

Half a World Away


16 thoughts on “Half a World Away

    • Thanks Dianne, this past year has been a real roller coaster but I’m hopeful the worst is through and the future will be brighter than ever xoxox


  1. Hi Tracy another piece of lovely writing I don’t know how you manage to remember all the details I only wish I could .I read your blog every week and get surprised every time I love the pictures they are magical ,my thoughts are always with you love Aunty Linda xxxxx


    • Thanks Helen. When it snows here it stays pure and white and lovely for ages. We’re in a rural spot on top a hill and can see it covering the countryside in all directions for many miles. I love it!


  2. Quite a contrast there. I like how you connected the two 🙂
    With each passing month that distance increases. Will it ever be far enough though? And, at some point, will it reach max. distance. After all, in our spherical world, past halfway it gets closer again, perhaps bringing a different perspective on the whole affair.


    • Moving on is, I’m told, part of good psychological health so I’m glad this seems further away than it really is. The physical reminders are tricky to ignore, even when I don’t look. I do believe there is something to learn from every experience, even the challenging ones.


  3. I am happy you are well and that the year is behind you. I know I am haunted by memories of the two years of surgeries. Even now, a pain in my finger frightens me that it might be cancer.


    • They say our experiences shape us, make us who we are and I’m sure that’s true. But I wish more than anything that you, me and our other blogging friends who’ve been touched by cancer never have to face it again. I know some are already dealing with that outcome and I wish it wasn’t so. Take care Mae


    • Thanks Diane 🙂 It’s been weird the past few months. I was very tired before Christmas and I’m suspicious of tiredness as it was one of of the things that tipped me off to my earlier diagnosis – this time I think it was just the new job which began infringing on… everything. I have that back under control now and am feeling quite well all things considered. Hope you are doing well, I loved your Christmas adventures with the dawgs!


      • tw,

        I’ve been really tired lately, exhausted. No will to do anything. I blame it on all these surgeries and the drugs. My body is tight all over, I get cramps in every muscle of my legs, joints hurt. I’m hoping it is all temporary. ~D


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