The dew shimmers beneath our feet as my family and I walk towards the castle, Lulworth Castle, in Dorset. Families converse in various languages all around us and pose for photos on the castle steps. We enter and climb to the top of one of the towers. Fortunately, the early morning mist has lifted enough to give us a view for miles around. Mum is especially happy that she has made the climb and looks forward to telling her sisters next week. We descend and wander around the restored remains. The castle was almost destroyed by fire in the early twentieth century, and now fireplaces and doorways appear halfway up the walls, and archways lead into thin air. The windows reveal the once magnificent interior, with perfectly framed views of the grounds outside. We walk out into the warm sunshine, and stroll through the parkland, admiring the trees.
I am aware of how precious these moments are; with my mum and brother. Each second we spend here, every damp footstep, is one that will not come again. Maybe it’s my age, I’m getting to one of those birthdays, but I feel time more keenly than I used to, especially when I’m with my family. I cannot bear to think that one day we will be separated forever. That’s always been my gripe with God, if it exists; to give us time with those we love, and then take it away far more quickly than we had expected.
I have been thinking recently of how I can have a positive influence on the world. I guess I want to help people to realise just how much they should value those simple moments of walking through a park, around a castle, by the sea, even going to the shops! Those moments won’t come again, and they should be treasured, and documented, if possible, in words or images, or only in our minds. To commit the sight of a tree, my mum and brother walking ahead of me as I’ve stopped to take a photo, and I can see them discussing something as I catch up to them; we stop to listen to a bird singing in the hedgerow, which we try to see, but it’s well hidden, deep within the branches. So instead, we pause for a moment to listen to its song. I breathe in the fresh smell of cut grass, the spring air that whispers of warmer days to come after the cold of winter, which my brother hates. As we walk uphill to admire the landscape, I want to commit these moments to memory, to carry them home with me and recall them as I sip tea from the same cup my grandmother once did, while I sit in my flat, the late afternoon sun illuminating the walls of my home, and feel grateful to have this time.