Climbing the hill. Wind whistling through my ears. Pulling me higher. Each foothold more slippery than the last. The winter sun slices through me as it hits the ground. It crashes into a million pieces of light, reflecting off the hill like a giant beacon that no-one will see. Nearly there. Heart pumping. Bones shaking. Staring down the valley.
Ready to let it all go.
Ready to start again.
Every morning this week I have climbed the hill. I go there to get a little rush. I go there to feel free.
It’s a ritual I started a few years ago. Every winter. Just as the cold freezes me to standstill, I get into my car and drive to the hill. I get out and climb higher on foot. On days when my kids are with me, I don’t climb very far, but I still walk up a few footsteps, just to feel my feet on the earth.
The view is breathtaking. It lifts me out of my coldness. It shows me what is beyond this small grey town. I can see all the way to the city and to the valleys either side. On a clear day I can even see the faint haze of the dark blue sea. That’s what’s so good about a view. It helps us see beyond ourselves. It gives us the big picture. It let’s us dream of the potential.
Climbing up on Solsbury Hill
I could see the city light
Wind was blowing, time stood still
Eagle flew out of the night
He was something to observe
Came in close, I heard a voice
Standing stretching every nerve
Had to listen had no choice
I did not believe the information
I just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom boom boom
“Son,” he said “Grab your things,
I’ve come to take you home.”
~ Solsbury Hill, Peter Gabriel
It’s my favourite Peter Gabriel song of all time. It’s raw. It’s adrenaline. It’s courage. It’s epiphanies.
I’ve wondered about these lyrics for 20 years now. Some people say the song is about Peter’s decision to leave Genesis. I think the words are obscure enough to give us all something.
Peter himself says, “It’s about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get, or what you are for what you might be. It’s about letting go. By letting go, you create the space for something new to happen.”
Solsbury Hill is usually blasting on my 80’s mix tape when I drive to my hill. It’s the soundtrack to my soul-searching. It gives me the sense that something beautiful is just around the corner. It feels hopeful. It feels imminent.
I’ve been asking my hill some questions. What next? Where is my home? I’m ready for something new. I’m listening.
I’ve been madly trying to find home for 40 years now. This year I’m chasing it down even harder. I’m scrambling for it.
This last week I’ve been looking at real estate. Everywhere. Looking at all possibilities. No matter how scary it might be.
When I find home, I hope it will grip me and hold me. I hope I will hear a triumphant whisper deep inside. And I’ll know when I finally find it. Because I’ll feel the urgency to run to it.
Grab your things, I’ve come to take you home.