March 1st – the year is marching past us and spring is in the air.
One of the little girls who lives on Rum asked me last week if I wanted to see something lovely. I replied that yes, of course I did and she led me around the front of our village hall and showed me the first daffodil in bloom. There seems to be a sort of micro climate in the small patch of land beside the playpark here on Rum, where Kinloch river meets the sea, sheltered by the buildings and facing south to catch the best of the sun. It is where the brambles ripen first in the late summer and the daffodils bloom earliest in the spring.
This week three people left Rum. Two of them had been here on and off for more than a decade although they were not residents when we first moved here they were still frequent visitors and moved back and have been a big part of island life for the last year or so. The other was our first contact with Rum before we even moved here and has come to be one of our closest friends here. Nearly three years in we have seen a lot of faces come and go, helped pack up vans and waved people off on the ferry, welcomed new faces and helped to ease their settling in to life here.
Life on Rum can move very slowly, the pace can be frustrating at times before you get used to it and for some it never synchronises with their own personal clock. At other times though the rhythm is brisk, Rum never waits for you to catch up, you either make it here or you don’t. Rum is not kind or forgiving, not generous or nurturing.
The first few times we said goodbye to people it felt as though there was a hole in Rum that only they could fill. Now I see that Rum is filled with holes and like a quilt patched so many times that there is barely any of the original quilt left. What is left behind is memories, your story, the mark you made while you were here when it was your turn, before you stood aside and made space for the next person. But the new patches add different colours and textures and tell their own stories, open up possibilities to create a richer, vibrant fabric.
I will miss those who have left this week, as I miss those who went before, as I miss the friends and family we left behind to move here. I know they are off to have new adventures, carve their niche in a different place and make their mark elsewhere.
And so we look towards another spring, new beginnings, new opportunities and another changing cast of characters here on our small island. Who knows what the next season may bring, I can’t wait to find out.