Albion, Art, Don and Wen

There and back … yet again…

SE Ilkley 2015 saturday (193)I finally turned my back on the newly risen sun and headed, reluctantly, for the final stretch of the journey. For the first time in days I would drive alone, without a companion with whom to share my delight in the silent beauty of the morning. In a few hours I would head off to work and then begin to catch up.

SE Ilkley 2015 saturday (75)

I have shared the past few days with companions of the Silent Eye at an informal weekend. We are now back in our accustomed places, scattered by miles, swallowed by concrete, responsibility and duty.

Birds SE Ilkley 2015 uffington avebury hackpen worcester (171)

But although the weekend was for the School, we had five days; we drove almost a thousand miles and walked a fair few. From the south to yet further south, then west, north and east… almost, but not quite, coast to coast. We drove through narrow gorges and over high passes, between hedgerows turning to autumn and through purple hills that held on to the last days of summer.

SE Ilkley 2015 alveley fenny bentley ironbridge (14)

We walked across moorland, through heather and bracken, over tumbled stone and amongst those placed and carved by ancient hands. There were standing stones and circles… white horses carved into hillsides…dawns, sunsets, rivers and old churches on misty mornings.

Birds SE Ilkley 2015 uffington avebury hackpen worcester (198)

We saw the hawk and the skylark rise and heard grouse fill the air with unearthly sound. We waited for sheep to cross the road and saw dragons curling in clouds touched by all the colours of flame and rainbow.

SE Ilkley 2015 alveley fenny bentley ironbridge (108)

We drove through rain and pale light and were kissed by the sun in the hills. We dreamed, talked, wandered and wondered, seeking to understand minds far older than ours, ancestors so far distant that all we know of the world fades into irrelevance… a lost language of the land that modern logic alone cannot comprehend.

Birds SE Ilkley 2015 uffington avebury hackpen worcester (260)

For a few days the world stopped for us… and now we are back. Not unchanged, though. To our small store of knowledge we have added new grains of experience. Such a journey cannot but leave its mark written in the language of beauty and mystery.

Nick Birds SE Ilkley 2015 uffington avebury cropton Helmsley 014

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