Walking, thinking


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Posted on September 21, 2014


I go out into the land to leave behind the lines and squares and glares of inside living, of walls and rooms, computers and information exchange and jagged edged thinking. I heard today another was beheaded; a body was found in the woods; two murdered on a dream holiday; and another child in adult's frame raises her voice to sing the refrain of one abused.

droplets of dew caught in a spider web

Up here in the spear-green swarth that wets my knees, a hundred perfect orbs of dew catch light from the white sky, jewels beneath a canopy of larksong. I am absorbed in wonder; for the fly climbing a stalk this is just its ordinary way: instinct, scent, the world. I lift my gaze. Above me the fell finds its edge in sheer limestone. Bare moors are shifting waves of mustard, moss, pink blush and brown, stroked by wind as if by a mother's hand.

moors above mallerstang

How can such opposites be allowed or even entertained by a God as my father would have it? That same God my grandfather shared from the pulpit? That same God my aunt asks to bless the sick? The one who some say made this world yet condones crusades?

I walk with a furrow above my eyes. It loosens, slowly, as I gain height, in this space of no walls. A racing cloud of incoming mist licks my ankles and pulls me from the quicksand of melancholy thoughts.

Mallerstang moor
The horizon is open. To the north, the Eden Valley rolls out its patchwork of fields in soft yellows. South and east, high moorland is like a brown sea seen from a small bobbing boat. Here there is no roof, no certain floor, no phone signal, no time checking. Gentle sounds: the shush of the wind and the trill of larks. The only carnage in this land, a buzzard's scraps.

Until. Until I notice the line of butts. A line that marks the shooting stages for men and women who choose to kill - they will be training their guns on grouse driven to them, helpless in their flight towards bullets.

We drop down into Hell Ghyll
I am here for the first time
Peat brown water over earth brown rocks.
I walk through the beck’s constant song
Mindful of my steps (so I don't slip)
Mindful of my thoughts.

When I revisit, I will walk through these thoughts as if they have been written in the rambling curl of stones in brown water and held by the sound of the river's flow, rooted into the ground, captured, with the carbon, by the spaghnum.

Rob at 'Water Cut' by Mary Bourne Resting point. Rob at 'Water Cut' by Mary Bourne
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