Sometimes a book comes along at just the perfect moment. It's words are current and meaningful and resonate with how you are feeling. I have a pile of books that sit beside my bed, threatening to trip me up each morning if I don't get on and read them. The pile never seems to shrink, even as I tick them off the "to read" list.
The book I've just picked up is Robert MacFarlane The Wild Places. Initially I wanted to read his style, find out how he writes about these wild and magical places that touch the human soul. However, it has turned out to be the perfect read for these days of isolation, fear, and hardship.
In describing the current situation with those words a know I am probably one of those least affected by corona virus and count myself to be extremely fortunate to live on Bryher. But for others in more challenging situations, and possibly for myself in the future, his words are inspiring. He tells us of W.H Murray, a Scotsman imprisoned during the second world war.
" when he closed his eyes, the mountains and glens sprang to mind, vivid in every detail. He dreamed of the violet dusk of moors, the green water of the sea lochs in which he had once swum, and the beaten-gold sky of dusk. During the last year of his confinement, he recalled, "I had not once thought of myself as imprisoned. I lived on mountains, and had the freedom of them."
I hope that if ever I am unable to walk the open stretches of countryside, swim in rivers, lakes and sea or climb the hills and mountains, that I will have captured enough feelings and memories to be able to close my eyes and imagine myself in these beautiful wild places.
I've swum this morning. The sand is wet, streaked with running water, foam and a multitude of shells, weed and pebbles left behind by the quickly ebbing tide. It's moving fast, the tide, pulled along by the full moon. Even the wild sea is controlled by a force greater than itself.
The water seems to be every shade of green, blue, black, gold and silver. Playing and dancing all around me.
A fat sun glitters and I can feel it's heat on my face. Those harsh winter swims seem so far away.
On the shoreline oyster catchers patrol the waters edge and a small group of dunlin, almost invisible against the granite pebbles, forage.
Now as the day heats, I can sit on a rock, dried by the sun and gentle breeze, like one of the shags with their wings outstretched.
I try to bank these moments for future reference, it may be my lifeline one day when my idea of freedom is tested.