As a child, my favourite story was one about a bunch of animals who lived in a wood. I loved that story. And I used to think that one day I too would like to live in a little house right in the middle of a wood.
I was over fifty before I tried to realise that dream. The first time I went to look at an actual house for sale in an actual wood I knew for absolutely certain sure that I didn't want to live in a wood after all.
I realised, that day, that what I now wanted was to live where the sun shone. I wanted to live where I could see the sky. And I wanted to live near the sea because I knew I could not bear to be too far away from the shore.
As we age, we change. And it is good to keep track of those changes. It is as well never to say "I am a person who …". Because we might not be that sort of a person any more. Better to check within and ask "Who am I right now?"
And right now, although I love to walk through the woods, my favourite place to be is that place where land, sea and sky all come together.
I don't live precisely in a spot like that, 'tis true. I live a couple of hundred yards below the lip of a small valley. At the bottom, there are woods and a stream, but at the top, where I walk most days, the countryside is open, patchwork farmland and I can see for miles. The sky is big. And in the distance, I get a glimpse of the ocean. A forty-five minute walk will take me to one of those magic, land/sea/sky places. The sort of place where I could stand for hours, just watching the waves rolling endlessly into the shore, the seabirds circling, the land sloping down to meet the water, the ever-changing pattern of the clouds.
How wonderfully small and insignificant I am, this dot of living tissue called a human being, standing knee-deep in the heather with the salty sea-wind whipping my hair. Who am I right now? A speck of life, smaller than a grain of sand in the mighty and mysterious scheme of things.