For me, Sean’s psychic trail is imprinted on this area like invisible snail tracks that can be sensed by those who love him. The place is saturated with his spirit.
Every bend, every field, every bump in every road is something we experienced together many, many times in all kinds of weathers over the past 12 years. Going to rugby training; dropping him to school, to town; talking, listening to music or silent; in every conceivable mood. A shared world, occupied differently by each of us and acted on by the other(s). Co-living. Sean’s action is all in absentia now. We miss his real presence.
I remember the big pile of topsoil behind our rented house … a kind of adventure playground for the kids. The perpetually waterlogged field beside it that we called ‘the Swamp’ … as good as the Everglades for fun and adventures, though lacking alligators (there’s a house there now, somewhat worryingly). Our wellingtons got stuck in the mud and we fell over.
The fields we used to walk up behind the house; the stream we crossed … the cats following us, to the cattle’s annoyance. (Both tabby cats were killed on the road. We missed them.) The hares we watched. The place at the top of the hill where their granny and granddad left treasure for the kids to find (we didn’t know that granddad would not be long in this world).
The time the four of us walked down the road and round the corner on Christmas Day 1998, when snow was on the ground, singing ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’. We were so happy. Before the fence was erected the house was naked in the field; the cattle came right up to it and you could hear them breathing at night. Two wagtails flew together into our bedroom window; one died. There were fossils in the hardcore.
It was country life, and none of us had lived in the country before … only in towns or cities. We took to it right away.