A weekend exploring the landscape in my local area draws to a close in a few minutes. My friend is in bed, I sit here glowing pink because I caught the sun today. It was glorious weather and we have spent the day on the Chiltern hills.
It has been one of those times when were I to tell you all about it, it would seem very simple. We have walked a lot, talked, even more, laughed and shared ideas. Yet I have, for the first time in all the years I have been living here, truly opened my eyes and, more importantly, my heart to the real beauty of the local landscape.
I have been thinking about it today a fair bit. When we first moved to the area, the family explored together, noting just how pretty the place is… a quintessentially English landscape and undeniably lovely. Yet it never touched me deeply. I suppose I was homesick for the high and wild places and all I had left behind. There were many lovely places I noticed over the years, but few I actually got round to exploring once the exigencies of life took over.
However, over the past few weeks I have been able to share with friends this landscape I know so well, yet have truly known so little. And that was what set me thinking. What made the difference? The sharing, I think, for starters. My friend’s delight in the green glory made me aware of what I was seeing through his eyes and allowed me to see it afresh with my own.
I have known about the beauty, I have little favourite pockets of it that I visit, yet today I climbed hills I have seen but not stood upon before, found ancient places I barely knew existed, and learned to appreciate their unique beauty. In seeking out these places to share, I saw them. In making that heart to heart connection with the land itself, it seems to have opened up its arms, with a ‘well, finally….’
With fresh eyes I have images of beauty to take into the night, gifts given by the land and the sun, not captured on the camera, but seen for the first time through the lens of the heart.