Ro(o/u)t(e)s

EdinburghSunsets

Somehow or other, it’s October now. This means that there’s around one month until my current job finishes. This means that there’s around one month until I – probably – leave my favourite city, Edinburgh.

My graduation ceremony’s in November (my MSc results will come through at the end of October, too), and I have a couple other things that I’ll be coming through for.

After that, I might come back, but then again I might not. It depends on work, and where I can find it; and some other things too. In the short term, I’ll be moving in with my parents in smalltown Perthshire. I would say ‘back in’, but I’ve never actually lived in their Blairgowrie house. The last time I lived in the family home, for a month or two in summer 2011, the family home was in Forfar, Angus.

It’s some surprise to find myself looking ahead quite casually to leaving (not so casually that I didn’t write this post, obviously). I don’t feel particularly rooted here, at present. I love Edinburgh and always will, but unlike when I finished my undergraduate degree in 2012, I don’t feel the need to find work here just so that I can stay. Successive waves of friends have left: one wave immediately after that first degree; another the following year as more people found jobs afar and our Marchmont lease expired; another after the first year of my part-time MSc, when the full-time students finished a year before I did. My girlfriend moved to London around the time of that second wave to study film, and stayed there to study dance. I swapped a permanent job at Edinburgh City Libraries for a more convenient, but temporary one at the University. One of the best slam poems I’ve ever seen, in the Queensland heats of the Australian national slam in 2010, described the experience of an immigrant, a newcomer to Brisbane. It revolved around the phrase ‘never even realised I was putting roots down’. Turns out roots can move, go sideways as well as down. Push up green shoots of you in unexpected, distant patches of loam.

I’d love to come back to Edinburgh properly. Send a big old taproot out to look for water under all those drained lochs. But I’d need a big, solid reason – a PhD position or an exciting job offer, probably – to do so. If I don’t have that, then for now I’m more excited by extending tendrils into the cracks of some unfamiliar concrete. London, or somewhere close to it and to Róisín, would be perfect. But I’m terrified by the idea of being poor in the moneyquick rentsand of London, so that has its caveats as well. It depends (it always depends) on what comes up, but I’ll probably winter in Blairgowrie. It’ll be fun to find out whether seven years of city living – six of them in rocky Edinburgh – have left me completely allergic to fresh air and having less than three mini Sainsburys within a twenty minute walk.

But I’ve still got a month or so here. To those friends in the city, sorry for making it sound like you didn’t exist, up there in paragraph four. I got carried away by a mixey-uppy metaphor with roots and waves in. Let’s get a drink and hang out while I’m still around! Meanwhile, I’m enjoying this pre-results oasis where I don’t have to read or write anything except what I really want to, which it turns out is everything, so I’m having a great time with that.

This isn’t a goodbye or a love letter or a laboured attempt to capture the low, soft light of a September afternoon in Edinburgh which spills across the Meadows from behind the Tollcross church and finally crashes against the red face of the Salisbury crags, lighting on its way the happy, chattering, newly-returned students and the barbecue smoke and the russet leaves beginning to line the cobbles and the railings. This isn’t a seeyalater to David Hume and his conical hat. I’ll probably write that letter soon; in a month or so.

This is just me tugging at my roots, and maybe lying a little about how deep they go.

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