There was still a little time before my son had to be at the station… time enough simply to drive, showing him some of the places I love, places that call me home to a place I have yet to live. I am a Yorkshire lass, but the hills know no border, no boundary line. They are older than such divisions and will outlast them.
We drove the length of the Snake Pass from the dams to Glossop and back again, stopping in almost every possible place to take in the changing beauty of the landscape.
The skeletons of last year’s heather are a dark promise against spring’s green and a late snowfall still clung to the heights. I hope Nick will come back when the heather is in bloom and I can share this landscape with him in its glory.
For the first time he could see what I meant when I spoke of clouds coming down to play and the intimacy of northern skies. The southerns skies are wider, more remote… distant from both land and man. Here you can almost touch them.
It is odd to think than none of this landscape is far from the industrialised cities that seem to have rejected Nature, covering her in concrete and bitumen. Yet it is never far away. Even in the heart of the valleys, tall chimneys vie with the trees for supremacy… until a snowstorm obliterates them from view. We drove out to Strines too to see the unlikely residents. The ardour of the peacocks, intent on courtship and display, was cooled by a sudden heavy snowfall that drove us indoors to warm frozen fingers with coffee by the fire.
There was so little time and so many places I wanted to share…but we managed at least a glimpse of many of the sites and vistas that lift my heart every time I see them. It is good to know that my son will now know the places of which I speak.
There is something special in that…a sharing that goes beyond knowledge to experience. It is not the same as sharing a photograph; all your senses are involved in creating memories. Feeling the wind on your face, the bite of the air, knowing the smell of the earth and the call of birds… all these things come together with a shared experience and sense of wonder.
“Now I know what Heaven looks like,” my son had said when I had showed him the Yorkshire Dales. Derbyshire and the borders of my home county are no less beautiful.
From the majestic heights to the green valleys, from the rocks to the clear, amber streams that run from the hillsides, there is beauty at every turn… and it was a joy to be able to share it for a little while.
By the time we took leave of each other, he to catch the train and I to drive south alone, we were both smiling. It had been a beautiful day.