I have been travelling down a road. It is not a main road nor is it a cobbled path. This road has been long and enduring. The terrain at times rocky. There have been pit stops along the road – taverns and inns – where I have met new people and learned new things about the world and myself – learned who I want to be and how I want to continue along the road. The road had turns – some sharp enough to teach me lessons about the cruelty that life can bring. But the road, at times, was accompanied by beautiful sights – some enough to teach me that sometimes it is the journey rather than the destination which holds more reward for your soul.
And now this road, has come to a junction. Abrupt yet subconsciously always expected – this new turn, this new path – is daunting. I have been slowing down in anticipation of it for a while now, yet I had never believed it would arrive. Am I equipped for where this new road goes? Will I be able to join it safely or will fear overcome me and will I need to stop completely? I had become so used to the old road, I could handle its bumps – for I had had years of learning its tricks.
This road is a metaphor for where I feel I am in life right now . I have arrived at a point in my life which holds new opportunities, new prospects and new goals. But therein lies the rub- everything is new. It feels like everything I had done prior, all the relationships I had built, all the ways I had begun to love and feel at home in a city, all had to be said goodbye to – not forever – but for some time.
Everything feels like it has to be started from scratch.
Which got me thinking – why do we start from scratch? What is a scratch ? (Apart from something you itch )
The word scratch in today’s world is used to describe the beginning of something, or the start of something with no advantage in it. Its origin heralds from the world of sport. Like most sports, cricket involves lines which demarcate boundaries which cannot be crossed. The most important line for the batsmen is the crease. Back in the 18th century , these lines – were etched – or scratched, into the ground. This was also the case in the world of boxing, where boxers were not permitted to cross the line on the ground afore them .
And so players were told to start from scratch.
Writing this has taken my mind off of the scratch that lies ahead of me .I am leaving the pavilion, helmet in hand, armoured with pads to protect me from the game of life, bat swinging by my side. I am approaching slowly to the crease. I have looked at the umpire. I have looked at the bowler – the deliverer of all my challenges. I have seen the boundaries that encircle me – the ring for my own battle. I am taking a deep breath – for only I know, that unlike the ordinary batsmen, I have to cross the crease, for it is one thing to start from scratch in life, but it is another to be up to scratch.