I haven’t lived in Sussex for 13 years, but it will forever be my home. The one place where I feel a deep-rooted safety and belonging right in my gut. I grew up with seagulls and salt-flecked breezes pervading my senses, where miles and miles of beach sit against a backdrop of green, and small villages nestle sleepily within the South Downs.
I don’t get to come home anywhere near as often as I’d like, about four times a year seems to be the going rate. My weekends here are usually truncated with family visits, trips to coffee shops, and…well, that’s sort of it actually. It’s easy to see the detail in the idyll without stopping to pause for breath and look at the bigger picture, and so this morning when I snuck out for an early morning run, I let my legs carry me to the top of a sodding great hill. Then down over a grassy track potted with rabbit holes, and an ankle-jarring gravel path. Past a solitary dog walker and a lot of sheep, then this view, which opens up ahead like a visual feast.
As I stand next to the barbed wire fence trying not to die from exertion, I take a moment to just “be”, with the wind whipping at my face and fresh air filling my lungs. Then I remember that I’m a cynical, unsentimental type, so I straighten my shoulders and plod back to finish my run. I’m topped up though, until next time.