Monday, 17 March 2014

Love life, love spring

I returned again to the Peak District this weekend. We walked from Hathersage up Stanage Edge via Denis Knoll. The sun was shining, and there was warmth in its rays if you hunkered down into shelter. By a small brook called 'Old Sheep Dip' we ate a feast of hot roast pork sandwiches, with crackling and apple sauce. We sipped hot coffee. It was tempting to stay there all afternoon, to curl up in a grassy hollow, bathe in the sunlight, snooze and watch the clouds whizz by. 

I wanted to write a post about how I felt to to be free in the outdoors. Those who know and love me know the relief I feel once I can escape into the freedom of the wind, sunshine, rain, snow. I adore my job, I really do, but I long to be outdoors all the time. I wait, looking longingly out of windows. I am patient. Then at the weekend, I spring.

This weekend, spring had sprung, but the cold was still with us. I stood up from our blissful picnic spot and the cold breeze caused me to zip up both fleeces and a raincoat. March: the sun is warm, but the wind is bitter. As the saying goes: 'March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb'. By the end of the month even the most delicate of buds will have braved the fresh air.

We turned to face the wind and, bent double to shield our chests from the cold, walked down the road. In a ditch by the roadside something moved in the water. I stopped, went closer. There, in the sunshine and shelter Mr and Mrs Frog had been busy. There were millions of tiny eggs bustling in groups on the surface. Underneath little black tadpoles teemed. And, hidden amongst it all, the industrious mother and proud father. No predators had yet found their home. They looked happy.

A hat was called for as we reached the top of Stanage Edge. The wind was strong enough to knock me from my feet. There were many people up there, but all was quiet. Conversation isn't free flowing in a gale. We stopped and looked out at the view, the village from which we had come, the tiny matchstick people down below. Once you see how small everything is from on high worries disappear on the breeze. There is nothing more relaxing and nothing more breath taking than looking at an expanse of beautiful, amazing, awe inspiring creation.

I met a hairy caterpillar on the way down. He seemed out of place. Perhaps had been dropped by a bird that did not think he was going to be tasty. He was in the middle of the path. I hid him in the bracken. He curled up when I touched him, furry defences poking out. I loved him. I hope he lives to be a butterfly.

Now it is Monday, and the weekend seems far away already. My tea is in the oven, it is a simple sausage casserole with onions, carrots and chicken stock. I'll eat it with crusty bread and a glass of wine (Feast of St. Patrick). I found a poem that explains how heaven and the outdoors share a space in my psyche. Here I share it with you.

In The Fields

Lord when I look at lovely things which pass,  
Under old trees the shadow of young leaves
Dancing to please the wind along the grass, 
 Or the gold stillness of the August sun on the August sheaves;
Can I believe there is a heavenlier world than this?  
And if there is
Will the heart of any everlasting thing  
Bring me these dreams that take my breath away?
They come at evening with the home-flying rooks and the scent of hay,
Over the fields. They come in spring.

In the Fields: Charlotte Mew

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