On the Sunday past, as we sat in pub with Nick and Paulie, he talked about why so many people want to move here, and they do, it seems, whether it be with passports and visas or without. He says, all in all, it’s still a safe place to live. “No one will shoot ya, except maybe the police. The government will feed and house you and the NHS will take care of you if you are are sick.” And, he repeats, it’s a pretty safe plaace. I can hear his voice in my head, his accent from Oldham and who knows where else, what they call a ‘broad’ English accent, not refined as Nick will tell you. But I like to listen to him and Paulie. Their voices and manner of speaking make me feel safe. There’s a singsong quality to it that’s soothing, even though they cut off their words and Joe or I have to ask them to repeat. Like when Nick kept talking about the ‘toorists’ and how they come here without cell phones so they can’t be tracked. And after the third time or so, I, in my infinite innocence, said, “but we are tourists!” which brought a huge laugh, for he was, as you might have guessed, saying terrorists, but because of the manner in which they speak, they slush together their syllables sometimes. Funny that.
It is this stay in Grasscroft that I will always look back upon and know; that this past month was when we began to dig into the place. I suddenly knew we weren’t like the hens out back, scratching the surface of England anymore. No we’d begun to dig in and grow some roots. We weren’t here to be tourists (or terrorists for that matter!) and see the sights, although there are some beautiful sights to see. We weren’t all about ourselves caught up in our own world. No we were here to live, to experience the day to day life, to become part of the community we were in, whether that meant going bowling with new friends, or bringing tea back for a stranger, or walking alongside a man and his dog down the canal, sharing stories.
We got sick and went to doctor here and we rode in cars and buses and taxis, and we walked; oh how we walked, and every part of this beautiful place got felt by our feet and blew our hair and reddened our cheeks and warmed our skin and lit up our eyes with its beauty, with its quiet strength, both people and place. And we were changed by it and I wondered how we’d feel when we went home; if we would miss the footpaths and the friendly people and the green.
Tomorrow we will go forward to our next sit and the next, but we’ll be different; we’ll be changed and we’ll know it. And we’ll know one simple fact; Joe and I can live anywhere, and everywhere we go, we take Reiki within us.