When I returned, the same calm descended. It was serene. So it is, that this corner of suburban south London has taken me completely by surprise. It never occurred to me that an artbritary new place, or any place for that matter, could conjure up the same magical feeling I’d had in a different place, hundreds of miles away and over half a hundred years ago. That one place could unlock the lived experience of another, opening me up to so many happy memories.
I find an alleyway between terraced houses, I venture along there and find myself in a neglected garden flanked by tall trees on one side. It’s early on a Sunday morning, so no one is about. I sit on a bench, I am alone. A wood pigeon and crow simultaneously call in unison. In an instant, I am called back to Owston, to Grandma Kiv’s, to the vivid feeling of being in the woods, truly at one with nature and connected forever. I find this place outside and in, where spirit child in me lives. Returning the freedom and long lost feelings of safety. Grandma is watching, reminding me, guiding me home.