After completing a long day in my office the sun was still brilliant through my window and I decided upon a walk. Throwing on a light coat and a pair of comfortable walking boots, always ready by the front door, I closed the door of my little cottage behind me and headed down the lane. The evening air had that wonderful cool freshness about it. Breathing it in was like drinking a long cold glass of iced water on a hot day. There was a spring in my step and there was contentment about this simple act of putting one foot in front of the other. I stopped a while overlooking the valley, which dips sharply down towards the river and watched rabbits chasing each other up and down the hill. Beyond, the sheep stood, dotted about a farmer's field. We are well into lambing season, here in the Yorkshire Dales and lambs are everywhere, playing with gay abandon on every hillside. I walked on and soon crossed the old iron bridge, which spans the river. We have had some rain recently and the river was full and fast, its sound like distant thunder, its white froth bubbling and churning. This river runs west towards the sea but first has to flow through many little villages and rolling hillsides to get there. There, the sun was setting; its gold and yellow haze, its gentle warmth on my face. I stopped several times just to stand, eyes closed against the light; the gentle breeze, the bleating of lambs, the song of many birds newly arrived for the spring.
At the halfway point of my walk I turned to look back. The beautiful
mountain was bathed in the golden light and its rugged and rocky slopes were
accentuated by the low evening sun. This mountain stands behind my village,
which nestles in the valley, invisibly from this viewpoint. So I began my
return journey via a different route, the mountain peak directly ahead of me,
drawing me home. And soon, just around the next bend, the most beautiful and
verdant view appeared, as it always does, but still makes me stop and stare.
Beyond the dry stone wall, the field, beyond the field a wonderful meadow.
Beyond the meadow the rolling hillside dotted with countless sheep. Beyond the
hillside, the sky; vivid blue with cotton wool clouds whose edges were pulled
by invisible fingers into wispy strands disappearing into the distance.
I stayed at this spot for a while before walking on down the lane towards
the valley bottom. Entering my village I was greeted, as usual, by three ponies
- two white and one brown - poking their noses through a farmyard gate. Some
young people stood feeding them grass and stroking their manes. Almost home I
crossed the river again - it is actually two rivers at this point, which join
to form the one I crossed earlier. The smoke from the chimneys in the village
smelled of wood and sweetness and I climbed up to the village centre near the
church on the hill before turning right and back towards the cottage. By now
the sun was almost set but I noticed again how much longer the days are now
that spring is finally underway. There's an ancient beauty to this place and,
as I unlocked my front door, I was reminded again of how lucky I am to be here.
I really enjoyed my verdant walk and just had to tell you about it. I
couldn't wait for 'W'.