Monday, 26 May 2014

Shades of Romantic.

I took a late walk this evening. The air was cool and mellow, as it generally has been lately, and there was a light drizzle falling. I came to a spot on the far side of the Shire where there is a good view over the higher part of the river valley. I’ve always wondered why that view was so special to me, and this evening I got it.

England has a variety of landscapes, from the lakes and mountains of Cumbria to the rugged moorland of the Pennines to the dreary, flat vista of fields and dykes in the fen country. They all represent a part of England, but none represents the universal essence of the English landscape better than that which lies on the far side of the Shire.

In the foreground is a young wheat field, and beyond that a line of mature trees forming the boundary of a wood leading down to the river. Above the tree line can be seen the farmland of the neighbouring county, rising through a patchwork of fields, trees, copses and hedgerows to a low hill that marks the end of the Weavers. And as the view progresses, the clarity diminishes into an increasingly dilute colour wash of some shade between green and grey.

This is the landscape I used to enter as a boy being enthralled by the Arthurian legends. It’s the very model of the Romantic landscape, a quintessentially English landscape, a landscape which conveys the feeling of timelessness, ever changing in subtle ways and yet retaining something constant and nurturing. That’s what gives it an ethereal ambience to the point of being mysterious; that’s what makes it special, for me at least.

*  *  *

But then, alas, the Romantic reverie was pierced by a wound to my chest, just behind the rib cage. Fortunately, the weapon was only a stiletto, and their wounds are rarely fatal.

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