Friday, February 5, 2010

My walk in the hills

Today was one of those bleak, misty, wet British days, the sort that threatened to lower my spirits to the very pit of my stomach. I could quite easily have stayed indoors all day wondering why we had sacrificed the constant sunshine and bustle of Cambodia for the cold, grey rain that falls all too often in the lonely Herefordshire countryside. Thank goodness for our new dog Brecon.

If it were not for Brecon I would have curled up with Bella and shared her midday nap, and felt even worse on awakening to find the day already darkening. Or I would have cleaned the house and done the laundry and worked at my computer, all the time wishing for some sun to dry the clothes and warm the house. Instead Brecon and I went for a walk. How differently I saw the day.

We walked up the old lane behind our house, a lane that has not changed in the thirty-six years that I have known it. It beckoned us up the hill and into the wood, where Brecon sniffed for rabbits and I wondered how it is possible that in all those years I have never met a single soul on this lane. As we emerged from the wood into my favourite valley, I might have walked into one of Constable’s paintings. Had he come across this sacred place I’m sure he would have found it just as it is now.

One side of the valley is edged by the wood, until it rises up to Offa’s Dyke, the original border, where rabbits act out Watership Down and I used to stand, legs stretched out, calling: “one foot in Wales and one in England!” On the other side, across the lake from where I stood, at the top of hill, the leafless branches of the oak, beech and ash appeared tangled and blackened against the white sky, shrouded in a gloomy, hanging fog that filled the air between the trees and me with tiny drops of soft floating rain. I stopped and stood in this valley, where I have come hundreds of times before.

I stood as still as the murky blue green water of the recently thawed lake, for there was hardly a breath of wind in the air.

I stood and listened to the silence that surrounded me, disturbed only by the sound of sheep bleating on the hill and bird song from the woods. It feels as though no human hand has ever touched this place.

I stood and breathed and felt the cool damp air on my face and in my hair.

I could have stayed home and moped today. Instead I walked and felt inspired to write as I learned that no amount of cold, grey mist can dampen my spirits, when in a place of such natural, earthly, English and Welsh beauty. I braved the day and I remembered why I had longed to come home to live. I remembered how I had answered my friends’ well-meaning question: “But won’t you get sick of the rain?”

“No, not there. It is too beautiful, whatever the weather”. I was right.

Last night I heard a woman on the radio say: “When you spend long enough in a place it becomes a part of your spirit, a part of who you are”. She spoke from my heart. I am blessed.


Anonymous said...

I loved this! Thank you so much for sharing. I can totally feel and see everything. Just beautiful! Growing up in rural eastern Washington I know exactly what you mean

Hana B said...

Wooo! Inspiring stuff. We're following in yr footsteps, leaving Thailand after 6 years to return to UK for a bit. Such a change but feels like totally right decision - and this helps to confirm it :)

Radiant Child course (ths wknd) was obviously a.mazing too - thought of you. You never know, maybe we can come to a class in the UK to see an expert at work!

More of yr new life pls. Did you and Bella find out where all the little people were hiding??? And how IS bfeeding a toddler in UK (assuming she can rummage under all those layers)?


Anonymous said...

Just gorgeous Georgie. I am feeling a little bit more homesick after reading this post,
Karen xxx