Sunrise 1 July 2021 - LAURA ANDREW
I began my vigil looking east, out across the smudgy grey brown city to a horizon filled with clouds. Above, the pale milky morning sky glowed, teasing me with the glorious rising of the sun hidden behind the clouds below.
My father grew up amongst these streets. First as a boy and later as a police officer, during which time I know he worked hard to keep the people of our city safe.
I never thought I’d return to Hull or England for that matter when I went away to university. But here I am, turning to next year, here now with my own little family.
As I watched over the east, my gaze resting on the towering crane positioning the turbine towers at Siemens, I waited for movement. My husband worked there briefly, during a challenging time for our family as we navigated new babies, parenthood and the uncomfortableness of jobs we didn’t enjoy. I stared at that crane, but I didn’t see it move. Yet when I looked back minutes later, it had. I watched again, waiting for the sway of its cables. But nothing. I kept looking back, every few minutes, there’d always been movement, progress and yet I’d not seen it in action. It got me thinking about how it’s often only when we look back do we see the progress or change of anything: we don’t necessarily consciously witness it happening: children getting taller, more grown up.
A revised landscape, with night clubs we once spent our nights in, no longer there.
Ourselves, slightly older, more tired.
As I moved to look west, I knew I was right in my thinking. The old central Queens Gardens police station where I began my career now a glossy apartment building.
Hull Royal Infirmary, where I sat terrified for days when my daughter was just six weeks old, struggling to breathe, me feeling utterly helpless.
And yet as I looked beyond, over to the hills on the horizon where my sleeping family were, safe in our home, I felt nothing but gratitude.
I’d wanted to get away from this place, but it drew me back. It had frightened me in my early career and made me ask so many questions about myself and yet it made me into who I am today. Braver, stronger.
This city is strong. Its history, steeped in struggle, is so nice in beautiful stories. I feel so privileged to have witnessed so many and been able to be a part of its most glorious as well as most challenging moments. Celebratory festivals and events to the floods of 2007 and devastating loss. This city is part of my story and I am part of its.
The people who live here are what make it so magical. I feel proud to have watched over them this morning as the sun came up and graced this place with a moment of smudgy pink and yellow in the sky.
Thank you for keeping me safe.
Thank you for this moment.