Yesterday, a witch wrote to me from Idaho. What did she see in me that I do not yet see or acknowledge in myself. She said that we would have been called witches – it was, and I took it as, a compliment. My hair is becoming shaped and reshaped by the wind, knotted at the neck. Since being so far North, it has taken on a grass-like quality. A little like a long cat’s tail with a curl at the end – like a plait made of grass.
Tiggy purrs loudly beside me with watery eyes. His coat is wet from his night hunt in the rain – thankfully, he came back empty mouthed.
Today, 25th November, is the day I can open a letter I wrote to myself exactly one year ago to the day. Also in the envelope is the letter I wrote to myself the year before. The letters write what I hope for myself for the coming year, what I think I ought to do, try to aim for and wish for. I always forget what I wrote in the letter (s). Today is the day to find out what I was thinking. Here are both letters written to myself – word for word.
25th November, 2019, Upper House, Brindister, Shetland.
Dearest Tracey, So many things have happened since you wrote to yourself one year ago. Some of the hopes have come true – risk taking, finding a path that is true to you, becoming more open.
There is one thing you did but need to continue doing – that was to make calculated decisions and stick with them.
You need to really decide now, because you are at a cross roads – what will you decide? – here – I’ll list a few options.
Get an artist studio @SI Get an interesting job in Sheffield p/t – like arts co-ordinator
Sell the flat to buy in Shetland
Look to rent a place in Shetland for a year to see what happen
Apply for the Phd @ NTU – 2 options there
You WILL NOT get a full time office job – that’s for sure.
Tracey, choose a path.
Your patience has paid off lately. Patience waiting @ SHU, patience with the situation last month, have patience with S because I think if you could have anything – it would be a growing, deepening relationship.
You learned to love on FI and you were loved also.
Do not forget that love in the coming year. Open up more to love, Give more of yourself and of gifts of time – Just give
Volunteer, if you feel lost when you return to Sheffield.
I wish for you, that your creativity flourishes – that you grow creatively – that the path you started to carve when you took VR is more deeply carved and you are on a great journey of self.
Be kind, be open be love and loved. Xxx
Also, in the envelope was the letter from 6th November 2018, which I opened on 6th November 2019 by the sea whilst living on Fair Isle. I took Lola, way before dawn and we walked to the North of the Island and I sat on a rock and opened the letter written to myself exactly a year before.
6th November 2018.
Be kind to yourself. To push yourself every minute is not entirely fruitful.
Take those moments to continue to be real, more real, most real.
What is this real? What is the shape and colour of this reality?
Build on what touches your core, opens you up, loses you deeper into the life that is ever present.
Wellbeing – basics – go to more yoga, keep going swimming, wear your cycling helmet, talk to dogs, wave at kids, book those trains, ferries, planes.
Remember ( the distance between what we want and what we fear is the width of an eyelash)
I hope in one year that you will have carved a path that is entirely true to you, a place that you are happy to work, a place of wellbeing, a place of some kind of contentment ringed by periodic risk taking. Don’t stop taking risks. Be true to the real reasons. Do not blame. What do you want for yourself for in one year?
To be less (not isolated, not alone, not single – but more open to a partnership with someone – will you ever find that – that thing?
You are still on a journey – be patient, it will grow. So much growth already, but we never stop developing ourselves, do we?
I hope that you will be more professionally fulfilled. You take calculated risks but actually, you should make calculated decisions and stick with them.
Do you want to live on the Tibetan Plateau for a month – if so, do it. This is now. What do I want now for you in the future? I want you to be sound and happy. Eric would say during yoga, ‘comfort and stability’ whilst standing on one leg. I want contentment and joy, or excitement and joy, or health and connection. Does it have to be two things only? No.
I want you to grow more sound in your wellbeing, more connected to people, more open to those things that you can have, break through any fear, give more of yourself to others, open yourself to others because you already make opportunities.
Be pure, be you – 6th November 2018.
Midnight, 25th November 2020, Shetland.
Two years later – I am outside, in the small road by my broken gate and the old wall surrounding my small house, under a sea of stars in this clear Shetland sky.
The Plough is not above me, as it was in Sheffield, but to the North. the aurora is showing but I cannot see it with my eye. To see it through a six second open shutter is to stretch time, hold time in one frame as if holding my breath to catch the dancing green light. I will wait.
Already the inside of the windows in the porch and bedroom are clouded with condensation through their touch with the outside cold. Here on the bench, for the first time in weeks, I see the sea, the stars, the moon and smell the heady scent of peat fire smoke. All the world is here within the stars, the universe, the sea with its horizon line lit at midnight by the light of the moon, the old stone walls built and rebuilt over almost 2 centuries surrounding this house. All these things turn on the axes of the earth and will still be here long after I have gone.
The cats have taken themselves to bed.
Tomorrow, I will write myself a third letter of what I hope for myself to come for the year ahead. 3 letters in one envelope to read a year from now – so many changes already – so many to come
I nearly deleted this post as it makes me feel open to criticism by being completely vulnerable but I read a beautiful comment which made me leave these words in the hope that it may make you stop, just for a moment. And, then I looked at some of the great changes I have made – moved house, moved 1,000 miles from city to island, had a year of making, of helping people at the NHS, of being brave, taking risks, being open, started designing small knitting projects, started driving again after over 12 years of not driving a car, written words, taken photos, dug out a byre, researched a woman who lived in this house facing the sea. To date, this is my most meaningful creative piece – it may be a hat but it encompasses over 40 years of my knitting, of travel, of recognising strong women. The life that has inspired this latest pattern is a woman that lived in this very house I write in for 83 years, looked out of the same windows and door on to that vast ocean and sky. I called the Pattern Good Wishes for the New Year – Here it is
Here she is
Further reading and design process below