my grandmother had a saying

No todo el monte es orégano, she would say. Not all the hill is oregano. Life’s not always easy, in other words — a common enough phrase, we would learn (and not always meant unkindly) – but at the time it rang strangely in our young ears and danced just out of reach of our rich, naive imaginations. Which hill did she mean? It was the reason we couldn’t always get our own way; it was the stubbornness we needed to pick ourselves up when we’d been knocked back, and the resolve we needed to make our own way in the world. This elusive hill shaped and honed us in more ways than I can count.

Long years passed before I was able to understand the full meaning of her words and I was forced to concede that no, not all the hill was oregano. But every now and then – just once in a while – it feels like she may have been wrong.

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Rose Brissenden