Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Moor thoughts

I returned today after a six month absence to my old haunts on the moors and was instantly overwhelmed by a deluge of familiar sensations. It was as if the first pressure of my foot on the stony track activated a certain pattern of thought, despite the many changes in my life and perceptions in the interim. But is the trigger in the landscape or in me and my own wild, open inner terrain? Do I react so because I am on a moor or because the moor is in me?
I can trace my deep connection with the moor to early journeys over the Brecon Beacons. My poor exiled Welsh parents, miserable in manicured and over-managed Gloucestershire countryside, often made the return to their homelands - Swansea, Mumbles, Gower - with four children in tow. It was part of my father's hopeless quest for identity and part of my own very early passionate attachment to landscape. The passing of the beloved object on the way to another destination has also had its legacy, and later made travel more valued than arrival in almost every aspect of my life.
There was no more to this early love than that the sight of the moors made me happy. To a childish imagination they represented endless, boundless freedom and apparent simplicity. Other landscapes were psychologically more complex to me even then as a small child: the sea with its tides, the endless movements of a river, the uncertainties of woodland, hills lost to the unsettling exploitation of farming. But those long, high rounded slopes, empty of life and difficulty, solid and unchanging, gave me both a powerful sense of permanence and an invitation to endless possibilities, to the open heart and mind that seemed so perplexingly elusive in the constraints and compromises of the everyday world. I came to learn that there was far less isolation and considerably more connection for me in the wilderness of moor than in family life.


Lucy said...

Beautiful writing, and very resonant.

WM said...

Thanks, Lucy. Maybe you have an internal dialogue with moor too.