30 May 2018

Balm

Wheston, Derbyshire. Another walk in the countryside. Walking with memories. Walking at my own pace. Each footstep pressing down on torment or conjuring up pleasant times from the past, Each footstep taking me further along the course of my life.

As my heart beats I can feel blood coursing through my veins. Nine pints of it. I picture nine pints of Tetley's bitter on a pub table. It's a lot of liquid.

There's a world outside myself. It seeps into me as I plod along, moving across the landscape like a beetle.

A cow peers at me from behind a limestone wall. She is partly hidden by cow parsley. A mile along a traffic-free lane and just before Limestone Way Farm I stop to take a picture of a wooden signpost. It is showing me the way to Hay Dale, Dam Dale and Peter Dale. There are no other ramblers to be seen.
Near an old sheep fold I spot some purple orchids growing by the wayside. They are orchis mascula and at this time of year you may often spot them in The Peak District - in sheltered dales where no sheep are grazing.
The old track curves southwards past limestone crags. Below my boots I realise that the roadway is roughly paved with thousands of small limestone rocks. Who did this and how long ago? Then I come to a view of gentle Dam Dale reaching westwards.
Soon I am entering Hay Dale where upon an old tree stump I notice bracket fungi growing. Like all fungi it appears other-worldly.
Through Hay Dale to Peter Dale. The last time I walked here there was a stream and a water meadow but now the water has disappeared below the surface of the earth. The going is dry and easy. Creamy hawthorn blossom festoons spiky branches.

Reaching a lane called Summer Cross I climb up out of the valley, reducing pace so that I can plod on without stopping. Rising to the plateau I notice a  wide verge near an overgrown gateway and realise that several years ago I parked at this very spot before hiking down Monk's Dale. It is strangely familiar.

The circle will soon be complete. At Cherry Tree Farm I stop to snap a picture of a fine, limestone farmhouse. Behind it there are two long lines of washing strung between trees. Pegged items flap languidly in the breeze. What would it be like to live in such a place?
Another mile. Along Monkdale Lane. The walls are tight on either side. Just room for one vehicle. Nowhere to pull in but no motor vehicles pass by. Halfway back to Wheston where Clint is waiting under a sycamore tree I see a lonesome cow in a small enclosure with two handsome brown and white calves dozing in the late spring sunshine.
Nature and the sights witnessed seep into one's consciousness during such a ramble. Balm for the soul.

20 comments:

  1. What a pleasant life you lead.

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    1. Not all days Graham but I am in my element on such a walk and my right knee was pain-free right to the end.

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  2. Beautifully written, truly poetic!
    The mushrooms are very pretty. I had to looked up the meaning of dales; hills and valleys.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. I am happy to have helped you to extend your English vocabulary Maria.

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  3. Your writing is, indeed poetic but with scenery like that, I'm not surprised!

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    1. Who could ignore the loveliness?

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  4. A pensive, thoughtful, pondering post...a window into your soul...and into your surroundings.

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    1. As I have suggested before, walking through the countryside is not just about the exercise, it has spiritual and psychological elements too.

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  5. Prose poetry! Balm for the soul indeed. I feel like I was walking alongside you! There is something restorative about being out in nature, especially on a nice sunny day.

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    1. The more we do it the more we realise that that is true.

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  6. I am re-reading (after many years) All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot. It makes his stories really come alive by having your photos and descriptions of Yorkshire.

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    1. My wife and I have recently enjoyed a new veterinary TV series called "The Yorkshire Vet". The older vet, Peter Wright, was trained up by James Herriot. I think you would love this show Mary. You can find some footage on YouTube if you search for it there.

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  7. Balm for the soul but also a very descriptive piece of writing where you look back and compare the last walk to the present walk. I also like walking alone.

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    1. Other people tend to chatter and the pace of the walk can be altered by them.

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  8. I love to travel with you on your walks. A breath of fresh air...ahhhh.

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    1. What a lovely response Bonnie. It encourages me tomake more walking blogposts.

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  9. Another excellent post! It reminds me of The Old Ways, which I am reading these days upon your recommendation. Only that your writing is adorned with beautiful photos.

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    1. I hope that The Old Ways resonates with you Meike. I think that my relationship with walking has changed a lot since I retired from teaching. I have given it much more consideration.

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  10. My thanks and gratitude for another lovely spring walk, darlin' boy. What sights and smells and grandness and small floral blessings for the day. I just loved laying down beside those two calfs and smelling their newness and feeling the warmth of their beings.

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    1. Their mother was close by. She might not have appreciated the arrival of a new mother - even if that new mother was a very lovely lady from Colorado.

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