Parking up at the side of a road we slip down the side of a farm building. My daughter runs towards the wide green spaces, my dog pulls to break free. Assessing the whereabouts of sheep I let her go and watch as she jumps into the brook that borders the fields. My daughter spies horses galloping towards the fence on the other side, coming to see what the commotion is. We leap across the water, our feet sinking into mud, our hands reaching out to catch the tufts of grass that can pull us up.
We are free here, I think. We are free.
Through gates and over stiles we go, further and further into the countryside, further and further away from cars and people and the continuous noise of life. Instead, with each step I begin to feel closer to the life that grows beneath my feet. Sometimes I wonder if it is the only closeness I truly feel… I want to hug a tree, lie down on the grass and watch clouds move overhead. I want to call out to the animals and have them understand me. I realise the only tweeting I am really good at is out here, in the countryside, where it is the me in my heart, not the me I am trying to be.
We climb the steep muddy bank together, our steps bound by our concentrated breath. In time; always in time. Finally we emerge at the top, our hearts pumping, our bodies exhilarated. We find pockets of snow in the hills and bound into this untouched fun with gusto. Walking the ridge I soak in the views and realise that I needed this; that I must have been longing for the wild beautiful countryside of North Yorkshire for a while… because suddenly I feel at peace.
We descend silently along muddy bridleways, passing through fields of horses, slipping and sliding, running and laughing. There is no love like that of nature, I think. No love so free, without complications and expectations.
It is a love I want my daughter to know, understand and always trust.
"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but nature more"
~ The Dark, Blue Sea by Lord George Gordon Byron.