I vanished recently.
That’s because I got sick.
If you move back home, you soon learn about illness.
You get every bug that ever existed and then some because you have no defences.
So when a friend comes to stay for the weekend and happens to mention over morning coffee ‘I have a sore throat for some reason,’ you are filled with a sense of dread. You can already picture the sore throat and then the cough and the stuffy nose and the aches and pains and finally the exhaustion that takes over every part of your body and makes you think “maybe this is it for me. Maybe my time has come…”
But then slowly you start to feel a little bit better for an hour here and there, and then for a few hours and eventually, after almost two weeks, you manage to walk a little way up the lane and you finally feel like a human again.
(And then your friend redeems himself by giving you the heads up about extra tickets for a production of Macbeth in a small theatre starring Kenneth Branagh, and you get the tickets, and you think ‘well that wasn’t such a bad cold after all’. Love you Dave!)
We went for over a week without going for a walk, and it really sucked, because I hadn’t realized how much those walks meant to me. Finally a few days ago, I was able to get out and walk for a few miles. HEAVEN!
The countryside has changed so much just in the few days since I last got out and walked. Wildflowers are everywhere and they are sublime.
These photos were all taken in the village or on the lane outside our house.
But if you walk a mile uphill from where we are, you come to a truly breathtaking sight. The fields turn into moorlands up there and at the moment there are just acres and acres of cotton grass. Close up it looks like this:
To touch, it is soft and fuzzy, a little like the fur on a soft toy.
But as you stand on the moor, this is how it looks:
I don’t think those photos begin to do justice to it. All I can say is that I stood in the field, all alone, hearing no sounds other than the cry of the curlews, and thought “I will remember this moment for the rest of my life and if my life ended tomorrow, I would feel like the luckiest person who ever lived.”
A truly remarkable experience.