Today has been one of those days when one is so happy, one feels one’s heart could explode. I left the cottage early, soon after sun rise, and walked along the river heading upstream. Winter’s snow still cloaked the tops of the hills, alpine white in the sunlight. In the valley all was green and damp. In the shady hollows the grass was still stiff with frost, but where the morning rays penetrated patches of vapour were rising as the sun warmed the earth.
Soon it will be summer, and I will be able to walk this way barefoot, feeling the rich earth under my feet, and the rough grain of the stiles (though for the time being it is over cold for such delicacies).
I turn away from the river, following the little path which climbs steeply out of the river gorge and onto the flank of Bell Hill. The grass is long here and I feel it caressing my legs, trickling drips of water into my boots. I don’t mind that my feet are wetted. I am at one with myself and with my world.
I ponder how my husband used to say that life had no meaning, no intrinsic value of its own. Really I think he only said that because he had read it in one of his books, and thought it sounded impressive. You see, although he liked to mix it with the intellectuals, and had enough time and money and books laid by to give the impression that he was learned, in truth his mind had always been mediocre. Anyway, since he apparently valued life so little I don’t see that he can complain at being dead. Personally I think it suits him rather well.
I have a much more optimistic view of life. I don’t really care what might be the meaning behind life, or even if there is one. I am merely happy to enjoy the simple pleasures for what they are. Now I can enjoy the delights of life in the country unfettered, and I am thankful for it. When the sun rises over the hills on a spring day like today, I can dress early and feel the freshness of the new morning, and without a care in the world exchange a cheery greeting with the peasants (as I affectionately call them) as I go on my way.
This morning I rescued a lamb that had become entangled in a dilapidated old fence. I really must tell Farmer Ferguson to have more care of it, but it was a joy to me to see the sweet thing bounding away down the hill to rejoin his brothers and sisters.
Breathing hard of the cool, sweet air, I reach the hill top and lean against the rough grey limestone of the cairn. I look down into the crossing of the three valleys, to the confluence of the three silver streams, down upon the stone turrets of the old houses, and the high gabled roof of the Great Hall. And I sigh a deep sigh of contentment as I remind myself that all this is mine.
My closest friend, who alone knows the full tale of how I came to be where I am today, still believes I must harbour secret feelings of guilt or regret. But the truth is quite the reverse. I have gone to such great trouble to arrange matters to my satisfaction, and nobody will ever know what I did unless I tell them. Why should I spoil my enjoyment of my reward by feeling guilty?
That would be quite foolish, and people who behave in such a way do not deserve to be happy. No, I count myself blessed that I have everything I always wanted, and I intend to make the most of it. That I had to murder a man for my paradise was an unfortunate necessity. But this small detail will not tarnish my love for the life I now have, nor my enjoyment of it.