Returning to Bretton Hall

BrettonThere is no way to go back, but you can look on the past with your new eyes. Images that have been forgotten or lost. You will never see them as you once did, you see them now through the prism of memories and sometimes regrets. Places change or destroyed for ever, yet people often retain that flick of the hair or wave of the hand that betrays who they once were. I have changed, far beyond my recognition. I see myself in an old photo and do not know that it is me. My memory has replaced that image with another more suitable image. I am, who I am now. I can never be who I was then. She is gone. And frankly good riddance. Remembering that life is sometimes tiring, often painful and never as good as the first time around.

So after forty years, I went to my college reunion. Bretton Hall was a unique place. I won’t explain it, you can do the work on google if you are interested. I was lucky to be there and fortunate to come out so completely changed that life would never be the same again. Certainly it would never be ordinary. It was as if my fairy godmother had arrived on my eighteenth birthday and handed over a belated gift. There was the good and the bad to this gift. You will be different, it will be hard, but you will be confident, creative and strong. You won’t ever be the same again. I never was.

The sound is different at Bretton. It dances in the air, like painted musical notes in a children’s cartoon. Then it falls to the soft grass and coils like a basket of new puppies. There are no harsh sounds, only soft sounds that fall slowly and sink into the thick green grass. I remember tears, I remember the loneliness, but I always came through it. The magic of the place pulled your spirit back to life, and you danced again.

So I walked along the drive as I had on the very first day. The college is closed, but the beautiful grounds thrive as the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The trees are mature now; there are playful sculptures in the clearings. I just reached the Camellia House before it was closed for the day to stop the cold air sneaking in. Just to breathe in the scent of leaves and musty soil was a joy. Down the stone steps at the other side and the house comes into view. As I walked towards it, the old feelings came back. This is home; I belong here. Sadly the doors are closed and I was not allowed to stand on the doorstep and listen to the stillness. Instead, I looked for our faces at the windows.