I wish I had the vocabulary to describe the view out the passenger window. There are worse roads to work, worse ways to start your day.
It has been a slow dawning on me, this beauty, stretching distant then coming close as we wind through this landscape in his battered old Ford. Up and down and round and through the very heart of the Ballyclare countryside.
It does me a lot of good, I realise, starting and ending the working day with 20 minutes of this. Doctors should recommend it. Even though I’m going to WORK, it feels like I’m escaping. Escaping through this rural landscape that is both dramatic and tranquil. Soaking up these far-reaching views of tidy fields and rugged slopes, of forests and bogland… hedging, shrubs, lakes, farms and trees.
And trees. I wish I had the vocabulary to describe the trees.
Our conversation elevates and descends like the landscape. We travel in all weathers, and all moods.
He wonders out loud, at least once a week, about the people, the modes of transport and the stories this road has carried through the centuries. This journey brings out the poet in him, and the philosopher. The secret poet and the secret philosopher. He says “Look…” and “Imagine…” and I do and I’m grateful.
He draws my attention, one day, to the sudden brownness of everything and I don’t know how I hadn’t noticed, or why it is amazing, but it is.
When we turn at the Misty Burn on Wednesday afternoons he says “we’ll have to stop there for a cuppa, one of these days” and I say “Yes, ONE of these days”. We like our cuppas, it’s one of the more obvious things we have in common.
Now and again he brings up religion, or politics, or the Answers to Everything and then I am quiet, unsure how to navigate this part of our friendship yet. I try out some responses in my mind, but mostly I don’t counter. I think he doesn’t notice, but he does.
“You don’t agree”, he says from time to time.
“That’s one for the book”, I tell him, when he’s carried away with his Ideas and Theories and his Answers for running the world at large… our school and small town in particular. It is a source of amusement, and occasional annoyance, how he turns up disorganised and dishevelled, but with Solutions for the Planet.
I wish I had the vocabulary to describe the view out the passenger window and I wish I had the vocabulary to describe friendships.
He pointed out a house on the way home today that is “really coming on”… he says he told me about it this morning but I was “in a world of my own”. And so I was, thinking about the places where our lives overlap, about friendships with all their differences and commonalities, about journeys shared and thoughts tentatively expressed, and about how everything is no longer brown.