We all have a place that feels just like us. Sometimes it's where we're born, where we grew up or somwhere we experienced something formative during our early years. I don't know why or how, but some places seep deep into your bones. They weave their fibres into you, little magic strands that keep a hold of you so no matter where you roam you feel their gentle tug. These places feel just like you and one day, you say, one day I'll head home.
For me, Devon is this place. A place of goodness, of rolling hills and beaches and trees and so much green and friends I've known for so long they might as well be sisters. It's a place that gives me everything I want as I grow older, now I have so much less time and use for all the things the city has to offer. Every time I take Rory to the countryside, I quietly beg for it to be the place that grabs hold of her. The place she'll always want to come back to, and hopefully, the place that she will be raised. The city is no good for anyone.
We visited my parents a few weeks ago, and the North Devon bungalow I grew up in. It took me a few days to switch off and quiet my mind, just as it always does. We took Rory to the beach, the first time since she's been able to walk. She ran full speed down to the sea and into the waves, because being barefoot and outdoors is what she lives for. We walked in the forest, went swimming in the river, spent time with our dearest friends and just filled all our little hearts right up to the brim. I need more, always more. It's great to watch my parents with her, to see her play with them, remember them, call for them and trust them. I didn't really have grandparents around when I was growing up, and not ones who played with me or looked after me in the way Rory will get to experience. It's important for her, and I'm so grateful that she has that.
Life in Devon is slow and kind, and it pours more into your heart than it takes away. Unlike the get up, keep up, hurry up, move on up of the city. Wild swimming, moor hiking, tea drinking...that's how I want to spend my days. That's how I did spend them, once, before I traded them for London. I'm grateful for that childhood, grateful that my parents chose that for us, and soon I know it will be time to pay it forward. To gift Rory a childhood of freedom and fresh air, and huge kitchen tables and chickens and innocence and oh...Devon. I'm coming for you soon.
My heart, my bones, my lungs, it's all here in the countryside. And one day, I'll head home.