I love the Lake District, and seem to feel my mood lift as soon as I cross the border into Cumbria. Where others want to emigrate to sunnier climes I long for the random weather of the fells and valleys; yearn for a trek that can seemingly take you through all four seasons and where you should never leave home without your waterproofs. I know I have the proverbial ‘rose-tinted’ eyewear on and that local people would have a view on my southern softy attitude to the realities of living and working in the area but after three days there this week I feel so much better. The sheer wonder at the beauty of the landscape releases something in me; anxiety lifts and the fear of incipient depression is not so scary.
So as I prepare a longer post about a fabulous exhibition that is on up there (the Lakes as they were discovered between 1750 and 1820) and daring to put out the photos I took this time – not on my SLR but on my phone camera – I thought I would pluck up the courage to post a poem I wrote on a previous visit. It has been nestling quietly on my ‘writing’ page here on this blog but now I feel I have to get it out there. It may feel quite different from the tone of some of my other writing and sits more easily as a mental health post – I am not a poet after all. But I would be really grateful for any views you might have on it.
The day is grey, a spiky mizzle and a chilly wind
Catch my breath as I walk slowly to the lake.
Sharp stones crunch down beneath me
As the rowing boat drifts gently from the shore
Sky endless drab; but all seems green or shades of
Blue perhaps, or slate grey flecked with purple heather.
Small sandy landslips scar the distant slopes,
Far paths snake up the fell sides, a patchwork of enclosures bounded by stone walls.
Swifts overhead, batlike, diving like spitfires skim the surface of the water
Catching darting midges.
My boat cuts slowly through the small waves with a gentle dip
and water ahead like electricity shivers silver across the lake.
Reeling away, a circuit is too far, my aching limbs feel drained
But there it is; unfettered Force, violent physicality
Relentless in its spumy violence strikes
Down purple slopes, a patchwork rent with startling ease
This place; resistance futile, water outburst, shifting rock and soil
Suits my mood, the flowing water tipping to the surface
My reflection, interrupted, shivers
And all the world flows from my eyes, set free by Force and Fell
Suzie Grogan 2009
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