At the hilltop I can see my breath, my heartbeat pounds at my chest like it can’t find the exit on this adrenaline fuelled high. This is freedom. I have places to be and all the time in the world to get there. Eric the Pomeranian greets me with the usual excitement, this ball of fur skimming the ground like a whirlwind in courtship. I drop to my knees to show gratitude for such a welcome. Bonds are made here. When in passing the familiar we find attachments, connections.
My thighs ache from the steep incline, so I rest. The ground is damp, but I’m as waterproof as I ever was. No artist could capture this moment, this expanse of life before my eyes. Such movements so fleeting that to blink now would skip several scenes. I’m only just learning to love this season and my head is already way over my heels with adoration. I retain my promise to tread lightly without expectation and these rewards are priceless.
Onwards. I pass the sheep, still nervous of this two legged beast and I feel the purest sorrow in my heart for the suffering they endure, to death I hope I carry this empathy always. I want the patch of earth where I finally come to rest to be part of this. No headstone necessary no intrusive verse. Bones and nature a peaceful reunion.
I detest barbed wire.
The rainfall runs down these hills causing pond like puddles in every dip reflecting blue skies like pools of glass. Insects skim with such grace and I wonder do they feel as blessed as I do.
“PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE PONIES” screams the sign from the hedgerow, whilst the ponies are nowhere to be seen the sign has always been here.
I move from sunlight to shade. Dampness fills my nostrils. I adore this aroma. Some would say that it’s tainted with decay, but I smell nature’s relentless cycle of survival. I tread on life here, a cushion of growth below. Acorns already taking root with just the dappled shortened daylight to incubate their journey. Fungi clings to fallen trees, give and take is in abundance, thriving in understanding.
The knowledge I gain here is irreplaceable, I expect there are libraries bursting with this information, but to be amongst this is beyond reading the experiences of the scientific minds. To run your fingers down the trunk of an oak to feel its life on your skin is knowledge of a different kind. Insight is awakened here.
I find the moss covered bench and unpack my lunch and my notebook. It’s a scribbling mess, but to those who know me it makes some sense….I think. I don’t tick boxes or keep lists I’m never disappointed because I’m never searching. I don’t want to be in a crowd of people in a competition of pointing at something and missing the point completely. I like coffee from a flask.
Inquisitive squirrels overhead scrambling to a vantage point. I wonder if they tick boxes….she’s got an apple!! ✔️ I’ll leave half when I’m done. Maybe an orchard will grow, maybe not. My fingertips are cold so I dip out of the shade and into the glow. I pass walkers who smile and nod, some only glance, but I’m ok with a glance. I think we’re all here to be away from there.
The tractors have left deep muddy paths in which I slide and squelch. I could have avoided them, but to head home without being even slightly stained here wouldn’t feel right. That essence of childhood splattered up my legs is as important now as ever. If I wanted clinical I’d have sat in front of a tv and watched other people walking.
Uphill again, crows caw and starlings gather to perform. They curve and shape the sky around them. Dancing on the thermals no audience necessary. Everyone tells you that you must have goals and dreams….I stand in mine every minute I am here. I didn’t strive to be here, I didn’t climb a ladder. I fight on the side of nature to keep the beauty of these surroundings free. It is the most important thing in my life and it gives more gifts than I can ever convey, but I’ll keep trying.