The swallows have gone. Well at least I didn’t see them yesterday but of course that doesn’t prove that they are on their way to Africa. Trying to prove that something isn’t there just because you can’t see it is futile isn’t it? Like all those clever scientists working on the Hadron Collider trying to prove the existence of particles which they believe are there but they just can’t see them. Tricky.
I can bring the swallows back if I want to. I can go back to a particuar moment sitting in the doorway of the tent making tea and watch them swooping and skimming across the field hunting for insects. They flash within feet of me revealing the vivid blue of their backs and their bright red throats as they twist and turn at impossible speeds. Over and over again they look as if they must fly right into the tent itself, only to veer away at the very last moment making me flinch involuntarily. I can bring them back whenever I like. That’s the wonder of precious memories.
We have less than a week left on the road now and I feel like I want to record every moment that remains in high definition vivid technicolour to savour when we get home. I want to pack in as much experience as I possibly can like squeezing in the last mouthful of a delicious meal even though you have already eaten too much. Today is a rest day. A day off the bike to ease tired muscles and aching joints but it is hard to relax. We have Caernarfon to explore, a beautiful town complete with magnificent castle, tidal waters and fascinating narrow streets full of nice places to eat and drink. Like most of our rest days we will probably end up walking miles soaking everything up. But maybe that isn’t really a bad thing this close to the end. Time is precious.
I sometimes think we spend our time like a millionaire spends his money. Frittering it away carelessly as if it will never run out. There is always a possibility that the rich person’s money may outlast them, it may never run out in their life time. They may go on spending freely to the end of their days. Our time is more predictable. It will run out. Guaranteed. The time we have left to explore the remaining few miles of coastline is finite. It is precisely measurable. It is six days. Who knows how much time we have left to explore life.
Over the last few days we have had some very harsh reminders of how precious, but also how fragile our lives are. It’s too easy to fritter them away like that millionaire’s money. We are bombarded by messages telling us to “sieze the day” or “gather our rose buds” but how often do we actually do it? How often do we grab life with both hands and squeeze it till it hurts? Not often enough I fear. That is why we will be pounding the streets of Caernarfon today instead of resting. We will be gathering up some more precious memories to see us through the winter until the swallows come back.