02nd July 2017

In the evening we went hiking in the quarried hills. We travelled a new path, an old stream bed that had dried out, tumbled with rocks and sheep droppings. We climbed up to where we could see the thin, silvery line of the sea on the horizon, various pockets of water glistening like dropped coins, and then back down again to where the little stream cut through the valley. The water level was low, the water itself ran red with iron and other minerals, the reason for the scarred nature of the landscape. It was easy to ford the stream. We crossed and then climbed up the steep cutting, climbing up rocks and slippery moss, gaining hand-holds on the heather and bilberry bushes. It is the kind of climb I have not done in some time, one which required my whole body, and it made me feel a kind of alive that I haven’t experienced since my children were born, just me and my body pitted against the landscape, or not pitted against but a part of because in this way I am more part of the world than I ever am in my daily life, safely behind brick walls sitting on my manufactured sofa. Part way up I stop and look down and despite my vertigo, which would usually trigger right now, I feel nothing but exhilaration. I am high above the ground yet still on the ground, I am teetering on the edge and yet every step I take is as solid as the last and the next is just as solid as that. When I reach the top I am breathless, my arms ache and the wind whips the sweat on my face but it is marvellous to stand here, looking out towards the sea, the world’s great greenness, its extraordinary beauty, laid out beneath my feet.

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