I cannot begin to tell you how happy it makes me to be able to say that we have a hill again. What I mean is that from our kitchen window we can, on a good day, see the hills of the Trough of Bowland. It’s been seven years since we lived anywhere with a view of the hills and I am thrilled. Even better, they are hills that come and go with the weather. We had been in the new place for more than two weeks before the lovely profile of Parlick and Fair Snape Fells revealed themselves one sunny morning. The fact that they are so distant and that they are not always visible makes them even more special. Today for example, you have to know that the hills are there in order to see them. They are so feint, so indistinct as to be invisible at first glance but now that I know they are there I can take pleasure in picking out the merest hint of an outline against the hazy clouds. Like an absent lover, they are there but not there and all the more attractive for that ethereal nature.
I don’t really understand why this outlook is so important to me. I think it is more than simply the fact that I like hills and enjoy walking amongst them. There is something about looking at high ground in the distance that invokes mystery and adventure. It’s a screen, a curtain hiding who knows what. Whenever I am walking in the hills the crest of a ridge or summit peak is compelling and I am driven to reach the top and to see what is on the other side. I suspect these feeling go back a very long way to a time when what was beyond the hills may well have made the difference between life and death. Between starvation and survival or between poverty and untold riches. Nomadic races, victims of war and gold diggers alike may all have looked up at a forbidding mountain range and weighed up the odds of danger versus reward should they make the journey to the other side. It’s no surprise that almost every low point between mountains and hills the world over contains a path, a track or a road that takes travellers from one side to the other. That lure of discovery is deeply ingrained in many of us I suspect. It certainly is in me.
I am looking forward to the next time I walk on Parlick or Fair Snape. It will be great to look east from their lofty shoulders, to discover afresh what lies beyond the view from the kitchen window.
On a totally unrelated matter I must share this spam e-mail with you that I received yesterday. It gave me something to giggle about and I hope it does the same for you.