As we ran round Grimwith for the umpteenth time last Sunday I was thinking of a good friend of ours with property in one of the most beautiful areas of Britain. In spite of such beautiful countryside, lakes and mountains, he hardly ever repeats a walk or, for that matter, will ever go twice to the same holiday destination. It doesn't seem natural.
|On a regular run up the ghyll on Saturday (Click to enlarge)
We're quite the opposite. We fall in love with places and have gone back time and again to climb the same mountains, run the same trails, camp on the same bit of ground or book similar sea-facing rooms in the same hotels on the same beautiful islands. So many samenesses.
But every time is different.
But every time is different.
|All calm on Sunday's run
Like our last three runs around Grimwith. This week, all was calm and dry with normal colours and not a breath of wind. Last week, the hills were plastered with snow, Storm Angus screeching across the water, stinging our faces with frozen slingshot.
|Things were far from calm on this run
The previous Sunday a surreal sunrise burnished the water like polished brass while mallard, teal and greylags honked, squarked, whistled and made V-signs across the water on their way to breakfast. Their morning ritual.
|...and this was different again
And I can't help thinking of summer swallows returning from Africa to nest in the same barns or Church doorways. Or barnacle geese bugling south in their thousands to the same winter feeding grounds on Islay. Or salmon navigating vast oceans to thrash their way up the very same rivers to pools where they were spawned.
|Happy to gaze into the boundless blue - from that same stile.....
I like to think my wonderful partner and I have got things about right. We feel part of nature rather than mere observers. Our habitual forays to the same wild and beautiful places aren't just for sentimental reasons but moved by some inbuilt compulsion we don't quite understand. We're happy to respond to these urges and sad when we don't. Or can't, for reasons beyond our control.
|Yeah, know which way to go, been here scores of times...
Tomorrow morning I'll most probably be drawn out of bed to don my running gear and set off across frozen fields to watch the sun rise from a vantage point high on Castle Hill. I've done it hundreds of times.
|Another sunrise to help charge the old batteries
I don't always want to get up, don't enjoy stepping out into a nithering wind to slosh through muddy fields. But there's an inner compulsion to go, whether I like it or not. It's a call I'm obliged to respond to - or spend the day regretting my failure.
|Or in our case, Run with God
Heaven preserve us if the day ever comes when summer swallows, wild geese or migrating salmon fail to respond to nature's urges......
"Sod it, England's a lousy place, let's stay where we are".