Bridge over the river Almond in Blackburn taken by M.J. Richardson
Suggested fun audio: Cocoon de Chocobo from Final Fantasy XIII composed by Masashi Hamauzu
When I’m happy I reflect upon the small forest beside us at my childhood cottage in Seafield, Scotland. Covered in a thick blanket of snow with delicate snowflakes still gently falling. My footprints secondary to the hopping patterns of confused rabbits and hoofprints of cautious deer snorting snowflakes off their noses. A coal fire crackles inside the cottage where my best memories were forged. The magical smell of pine from the Christmas tree reminds me it’s my favourite time of the year. And how naughty I was unwrapping presents with forensic care away from my parent’s gaze. Then with equal precision, I re-sealed them and proved to be the greatest actress ever on Christmas morning. We then settled down to watch Scrooge!, The 1970 musical starring Albert Finney with his bad boy good looks. A film in my collection that I try to watch every December and will continue to do so singing along to “A Christmas Carol”.
When I’m happy I reflect on family and friends. Feeling deeply thankful to still be in touch with those I grew up with and haven’t seen since around the age of 20. Yet nothing has changed as the years raced by and the cheeky grey hairs appeared. Thanks to social media and of course, my phone, we remain close by. An exchange of Christmas cards feeling like they’re almost present in person. People retort that you lose touch but no. Utilise modern technology and your bond remains intact. Share a happy, sad or downright mad moment and the conversation soon held us together and friends become friends with each other via your post, it’s amazing. If ever someone is in need, we are there as best as possible. My husband and I have many mutual friends and after the covid crisis, we’ll be all hopping on trains in all directions to fracture each other’s ribs with massive hugs and squeezes.
When I’m happy my inner child explodes into often irresponsible action. Inner child or heightened emotions, I’m not sure. I feel overly keen and seventeen ( now there’s a poem for later!). A Sharon once in in her prime explodes out like a Xenomorph Chestburster. I’ll pick up dead animals with fascination, laugh at weird names on long forgotten gravestones, paddle in the sea with my shorts tucked into my pants and lose myself in my various ensemble of videogame consoles. You get the picture. Everyone who knows me are witnesses to the Sharon who squeals with delight at questionable movies akin to Bambi discovering the curiosities of the forest for the first time. Will I suppress this version of me? Never. As I write this I’m sat on a deckchair in the warm sunshine getting covered in ants and falling tree blossoms. Do I care? No. Just feeling is one of life’s treasured sensations which can lead you to happiness. And listening to The Chocobo Song in my trusty Sony headphones is the cherry on top of the cake!
My final reflection on when I’m happy takes me back to ice cold rivers and mighty trees. This is me before my arteriovenous malformation devastation but she’s still within. As a child through to my late teens I used to love “river bashing” (mostly on the River Almond in Blackburn) with a dear friend I’ve known since we were 9. I think a minor scuffle at primary school bonded us together. We leaped both up and downstream across the rocks like two excited rabbits. Feet slipped and my Hi-tecs got soaked but I didn’t care. We often stopped to drink the safe fast flowing water and kicked off our trainers, ripped off our clothes to reveal swimwear prepared in advance. The initial feel of the water was numbing and disabling but as our bodies adjusted to the razor sharp coldness we enjoyed swimming and looking at the minnows darting beneath us. We also enjoyed climbing trees, I had a particular fondness for a tall Scots Pine in the forest beside the cottage, one of the easier species to navigate. My friend and I would sit either on a strong bough or against the trunk eating a picnic usually comprising of KP Skips, a Twix and a Mars bar. I often thought about the shifting lands at the top of the Faraway Tree in my favourite Enid Blyton novel, The Enchanted Wood (1939). River exploration and tree climbing be it with my friend (or cousins) are just the tip of the iceberg as far as our adventures are concerned. Exploring abandoned or boarded up buildings and rope swings other keen favourites. To still be in touch with the friend who gave me the best adventures and memories ever, now that DOES make me happy!
Dedicated to everyone I love and cherish.
© Copyright: Sharon Lawson™