I first posted this on MyT, in response to a call for blogs on everyday life.
I went for a walk up the fields today, on my own … my wife and I had already walked the dogs (our two terriers and a neighbour’s pointer). It was misty, and so damp that the road and everything else were wet all day, though it hadn’t rained. A good day for going up the fields … as most days are.
The first field has a steep incline; the second is more level. In the third field the landscape changes … this field is much bigger and more uneven, with dips and hollows. There’s a very wild area with a lot of gorse bushes (whins, as they’re known locally), hawthorn and blackberry briars, as well as some small ash trees. Behind this is a high, rocky place, partly covered in gorse bushes. In front of it there’s a ring fort … an ancient circular enclosure of stones called a cashel.
There’s one place, dry and enclosed by ash and sycamore trees, where the sunlight shining through can give a magical feeling (though not today) … it’s like an outdoor church. The cattle sometimes use it to shelter in. Grass doesn’t grow there – the earth is bare except for stones and leaves.
Today I couldn’t see very far in front of me. I like that … in the mist, everything seems possible, and everything seems mysterious. Also, it’s the closest thing to being able to make oneself invisible, which has a certain appeal.
I walked though fields of tall dead weeds, with trees ghostly in the middle distance. Some of the weeds were erect; others were slanted, giving the impression of soldiers killed in battle but still propped up on their swords. Here and there were signs of digging – a fox or badger looking for worms, perhaps. There were none of the hares that I’ve often seen up there … when it snows and you can see the tracks, you realize how common they are.
Up at the ‘church’ I sat still on a low branch of an ash tree and listened to the sounds around me. Birdsong, and the twittering wings of a small bird in the hedge. The dull sound of gunshots from far away … I wondered how anyone could use guns safely in these conditions. There was also the roar of quad bikes in the distance, which spoiled the mood a little. But it’s a good place to get into a kind of meditative state.
I was surrounded by random-seeming mounds of stones covered in thick, soft moss of the most vibrant green. The clusters of dark seeds in the ash trees were like a silent flock of crows looking down at me. As I sat still, life returned to its normal rhythm and the small birds came closer.
After a while I stood up and walked back down the fields in the twilight and the mist, through the gaps in the hedges, under a bright and perfect half-moon with aureole. If I hadn’t known the way it would have been difficult to find. When I got home my wife was about to sound the horn of the car in case I’d gone astray in the mist. Next time, maybe.
There’s no doubt about it … life is good.