Friday, December 12, 2014

Braving the corners and the curves of change..."comfort" foods and routines.

When dreich* turns to rain and sleet - and the North Sea vanishes into the clouds.
It's been way too long since last posting, but "conditions" have been less than ideal. The grey seas have been turbulent and inhospitable to our narrow boats, the hills muddy and slippery, the weather generally "dreich"...and there's been a lot of change.

The locum term at St. Margaret's concluded and leaving very special folks behind, we began a new locum, close to the sea, in the Kingdom of Fife. My new "work station" is 900 years old. The building is rather unique, the oldest part, the apse, dating back to the 1140s. Visitors from all over the world come to see this 12th century Norman Romanesque church, set high on a picturesque hill. Imagine what it has seen and heard, in the nine centuries its faithful people have offered hospitality, sanctuary, and spiritual food to passers-by, pilgrims, and to those who have resided within its parish boundaries.

I have a dear friend, with whom I have frequently (and occasionally annoyingly) waxed lyrical about the necessity of "change" and how it must be embraced with affection and a hungry sense of curiosity. Of course, I believe that...but I will admit to her that change is not always easy. Life is full of curves and bends and that can make life very interesting. There is often, however, a small measure of anxiety in not knowing for certain what will appear around the next corner. 

Not that we ever run fast enough...but generally good advice.
Setting out in any new direction is a time for a deep breath, a desire for exploration, and an open mind. And not unlike leaving the safety of the trailhead parking lot, with a new and intriguing hill to climb - there must be a degree of planning and preparation. There's the need for a map and compass, extra clothes, water bottles topped up, adequate "nourishment" for the journey, and sufficient spirit of adventure to explore trails that beckon - especially those that may not even be on the map.

After planning and preparation, some sense of continuity is also essential. Continuity brings comfort. The pack that you know fits well, the hiking boots that feel familiar, the rain gear that has already proven to be dependable serve to enhance the experience. There is less left to chance. You know you can trust and depend on your kit.

I suppose that's what "comfort food" is all about especially when everything around seems strange and new, or when the "territory" is just a little unfamiliar. For me, it's a good time to sit down to a steaming casserole of macaroni and cheese, just the way mum made it when I was a little boy - with extra strong cheddar and a crispy topping of oven-broiled Parmesan cheese. A few mouthfuls, and life seems normal again. The gastronomic pleasure, experienced decades ago, returns and there is a reconnection to a time that was safe and comfortable and familiar.

Almost home...and ready to welcome the corners and curves of change.
So yes, new adventures and directions always benefit from planning and preparation. And after you set out from life's familiar "trailheads", the moments of uncertainty (that will come) can be soothed by a gentle retreat into the familiar. 

The morning run, once again, is that familiar place for us. It serves as an anchor, a place of sanctuary, an opportunity for refreshment and revitalisation. It is the comforting and strengthening routine that ensures, for the rest of the day, we'll more confidently brave the corners and the curves. 

And it is often those unexplored paths, and the newly discovered trails that bring the greatest delight of all.

*"Dreich"...a good Old Scots word that describes dismal, dreary, overcast, and generally miserable weather. Such days are, of course, admittedly rare here. ;)


  1. We are certainly experiencing some dreich weather over here as well with lots of flooding but at least we have warmed up! A morning run is a wonderful "practice" to have and I'm glad that it brings you comfort through this time of change in your life...much healthier than the macaroni and cheese! Myself...I'm totally into comfort food :)
    Blessings from the "wet" coast of Vancouver Island

    1. Thanks for that, L. And here I was sure you'd tell me that the weather has been continually warm and sunny on VI...well, except for that it rains gently in the evening (after everyone is asleep) just to keep everything green. Haha! We have icy roads and snow up a little higher. The little old Ford here is being very brave, indeed. The driver, not so much. :) D.

  2. Well D, I must admit the skies have been blue and the sun shining all day today!
    Sorry you're missing it!

  3. Hi Duncan, we've moved around a bit too and I know how important "continuity" is. Something important has to move with us and connect all the bits and pieces of our lives together. Even blogging friends serve to do that, no matter where we are in the world. Thanks for being one of them! :>) Gen.

  4. Hi Gen, thanks for your comment, glad to be part of the "thread". You're right, and we too enjoy keeping up with the adventures and reflections of those we have "connected" with over the years. Some things DO need to remain the same.:) With very best wishes, Duncan.