"Life is hard but so very beautiful" Abraham Lincoln
*we wrote this blog separately, so any similarities are down to us just being mother and daughter clearly*
Emily: The first part of this sentence has been oh so relevant this year, hasn't it? 2020 has often felt like an unwavering series of things being cancelled, unknown futures, sad bits, and a lot of time at home. That's the hard bit, the part that we also tend to focus on. But for the duration of this blog post, we would like to concentrate on the beautiful parts of life... the things that give us life and keep us going while we trudge through the challenging times.
The first beautiful thing I have found this year is a rediscovery of my love of reading. Don't get me wrong, I have loved reading my whole life, but the final few months of my Masters made me lose a little confidence and my passion for reading went with it. But this year reminded me that each book I read provided company, knowledge, and a glimpse into another world (which is especially welcome in our current climate where discovering new lands is no longer encouraged). In the past few months, I have shared a table in Laugharne with Dylan Thomas, I have had banquets with Queen Victoria, and I mourned the death of my dear friend Jane Austen. All of these beautiful events would not have happened if it had not been for beautiful books!
The second beautiful thing I found this year was the newest Laura Marling album, 'Song for Our Daughter'. I've previously shared my music obsession, so I won't ramble on for long. But this album came into my life at a time that perfectly mirrored some of the songs on the album. In the title track of the album, Marling writes to a fictional daughter, sharing her thoughts and anxieties for her as a woman growing up in this world. Her words radiate a passion and an anger that society does so much harm to so many good people. Her lyricism is a perfect blend of loss and hope and longing and gratitude and love and lost love. I have and will continue to listen to this album till the end of time.
The third beautiful thing is walking. During the lockdown, we were unable to travel further than five miles and so we made a real effort to find beautiful walks and trails by our home. Between us all, we found so many beautiful paths that we had never walked before. Also, when we were able to travel further afield, it made me appreciate different views and places so much more. At the weekend, we went to Tintern Abbey, googled circular walks, and off we went. And it was gorgeous... the views, the fresh air, the challenge of map reading. I LOVE WALKING.
Tracey: A few years ago, I learned one of life’s little lessons. Complaining to a friend that yet again we had had a pretty dismal British summer and in my memory, it felt like there had been few days without cloud and rain. She then told me that her mum had bought an open-topped car and that actually there wasn’t a single day that she wasn’t able to roll down the roof and enjoy the fresh air!
So although 2020 will be known as a year where plenty has gone wrong, the sun also had its moments and a few beautiful things stood out.
1. Walking & Exercise - For me, this has been one of the most helpful things I’ve done this year, particularly during the lockdown. I think I might have lost my mind without our daily walks. And one of the real beauties of this whole experience was finding hidden gems right on our doorstep. Googling walks in our local area has been amazing. Places unexplored that I didn’t know existed. How much better you feel after a ramble in the fresh air, a walk and talk with the family does the soul good whatever the weather. Taking in the spectacular views reminds me of how beautiful Wales is! Also, our youngest had a small rebounder trampoline for her birthday and few things make you feel better than bouncing, getting your heart racing, and a good old sweat! Moving your body really does help to make you feel alive!
2. The world is still full of good people- It’s been 6 months now since I’ve been able to pop down the road and visit my mum in her care home and the only thing that helps me sleep at night is knowing that she’s cared for and happy. So many good people going above and beyond to look after others at considerable cost to themselves. I was shocked when one carer told me she hadn’t been able to see her own family because of the risks for weeks. On regular phone calls with them, I’m able to hear that she’s happy, chatty, and loving her food! Snippets of her daily life that let me know she’s ok. Thank goodness for the carers of this world. Where would we be without them?
3.The Humble Jigsaw- On a lighter note, as a family, we finished our first big jigsaw ever! I don’t think I’ve completed a puzzle since the kids were little, and I certainly never felt compelled to start a 1000 piece puzzle. But strange times call for desperate measures and like so many others we began. How people complete several a week I shall never know. And in all honesty, this may well be our first and last. But there’s something simple and therapeutic about figuring out the bigger picture one piece at a time. The plan is to glue and frame it so it becomes a Jones family piece of lockdown history. Such Fond memories of many family puzzling hours!
Until next time,
Emily and Tracey x