Unplugged, light as air


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Posted on March 27, 2014


It doesn't take long. I am, overnight, disconnected from the mainframe of technology.

Serenity Tarn on the hills above Wasdale
Serenity

Signal-less, no WiFi, no television, no radio. No emails to draw me in, no texts, no messages to log and reply to.

Finally, I have found a pause from a near ceaseless state of alert - and my nervous system has found another frequency. My head relaxes. I have walked to the top of a fell layered by bog, boulders, yellow grass and freshly fallen hail, and here I am now, still, sitting on a broad litchen-covered stone whose cold and stubborn hardness is reasurring.

Clouds play overhead, and then the lid of sky is split, for only a matter of minutes and the ever-present high blue is revealed behind them. It reflects azure in the waters of the tarn, ridged black where the wind whips up ripples. The sound of breeze on high sky is also the gentleness of cloud in water: sensory information merges in an integrated pallet and I take in all at once. Sound, now entirely silent; Light, alive in the grass and sheer on the snow capped hills; Sun, on my shoulder like a lover’s arm, draped, warming; Smell, a pristine clearness of almost no smell, just coldness.

Rob Fraser photographing
In the moment

I drift off, lost, just then, in the silence and the warmth. Now cloud has rolled in front of the sun and dimmed the light, the breeze has picked up and taken the lover from my side. Only coolness now, seeping chill into my flesh and challenging me to move from my rock-seat and walk once again.

There are parcels of frog spawn in the grass at my feet, tiny pockets of uncertain futures protected against hail, snow, wind and rain in their thick clear gel. And in the west, beyond the land, the Isle of Man rests on the horizon.

I’m reminded once again of Anne Stevenson’s poem, Utah, and the closing line: ‘In the distance, where / mountains are clouds, lightening, but no rain.’

Couds and blue sky
And in the distance ...
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