i woke up this morning in my old bed, at my mother’s house – a place i can still call home. the comfort and familiarity of my old bed was a welcome little ‘boat’ in which i used to sail across the Pacific of my teenage dreams, an ocean of sleep and aspiration.

i don’t recall any of those dreams in great detail but i do remember the flat calm of last night and running aground this morning. two hours later than i’d set out, i had slept through my alarm, having sailed right past that bay in today’s journey. i was running late for work.

in the grogginess of cough syrup and analgesics, i moored my ‘boat’ and set about correcting my path.

as i run a bath, i rummage in old cupboards and hidden drawers for traces of those dreams – i find a shoebox of old diaries, with pages torn out and little sketches; dossiers of drawings and tattered water-colour paintings; a pair of white ice-skates, their blades now dull.

i soak in the bath, reading the diary of a 14 year old Kathryn. i feel i have circumnavigated the world. the explorative voyage seems long, arduous and not without danger. it was the year after my father died.

warmed and refreshed, i climb out the bath and dress for the day.

having found my land legs, i boarded the 10.21 #39 to Kirkcaldy. this bus would take me almost directly to where i needed to be. a short walk in this fresh October morning would clear my head, and chest of the muck from this burgeoning chest infection that is currently ploughing my wellbeing.

i look out the window. the sky is sullen and quilted with leaden cloud. the pavements are wet. multi-coloured fallen leaves line pathways and ditches. the trees are shifting colour. they are splendid. they gasp in shades of burning red and copper, smouldering amber and hopeful shades of yellow and gold, vibrant greens. i stare in awe of the beauty of such a violently colourful landscape. Nature is in the throes of death. trees, bushes, shrubs and hedgegrows are all slowly dying; only to be reborn in the spring. such a splendorous death. i always feel introspective at this time of year. it is my time to reprioritise and regroup my colours and dreams. death does not equate stopping. i smile to myself, for amid this beautiful transition, i feel myself changing. i feel a wave of happiness blush over me. i am happy.

the bus is almost in Kirkcaldy. we are in the Gallatown area of the ‘lang toun’. A northern suburb of Kirkcaldy. Gallatown was a separate village until 1876 when it was absorbed into the Royal Burgh.Originally called ‘Gallowstown’, it was the scene of public executions in medieval times, the scene of which is now a public park where children play.

the vapours of menthol and eucalyptus oils fill my senses and i breathe in deep.

we drive past Kirkcaldy Ice Rink. it looks tired and thawed out.

i think back to my teenage days when i used to go ice-skating, early on a Saturday morning, on my own. how i would glide over the ice, the fresh cool air in my hair; my fingers tingling with cold and a light mist of sweat on my brow. it takes a lot of effort to make moves look smooth and effortless. i think back to those pretty white ice-skates, hanging in my old cupboard. perhaps it is time i re-united with them. i think of their dull blades, their knotted laces and how they are just chilling in my old room. perhaps it is time to take them back into my life; time to sharpen those blades and take these old skates for a ride.

i think skating helped me find myself. on sharp blades, i sharpened my mind.

but now i have found myself, and happiness, perhaps i should skate for fun.
“A man learns to skate by staggering about and making a fool of himself. Indeed he progresses in all things by resolutely making a fool of himself.”

George Bernard Shaw, Advice to a Young Critic


words (c) Kat McDonald 2014

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