Haweswater; the wind pushes cold
while the low grey sky hides Riggindale
from view. At the road’s end we leave the car,
with others; parked,
like a sulking child, as we begin
our slow assent.
One of us leaves to walk a lower
path, he’ll study
the sharp seclusion
of England’s last Eagle; for a while
share its solitude.
As the rest of us climb, we fight against
the wind; it plays
with our resolve, tests our
determination; dragging the colder sky
ever closer. Breathless,
we stop at a dry stone wall
slowly undoing itself and look across
at trees huddled together,
keeping warm near Gatescarth Beck.
Beyond Swine Crag the path
becomes uneasy; fearful
it may lose us to the wind. At times
or cling perilous,
to warm tea.
Bleak, we find the cairn of Rough Crag
in a gap of low lying cloud. We sit near,
like soft stones, and consider the thrill
of wild places.
Riggindale turns steep as it falls
upwards, towards High Street. Now a gale
sails past, prising our feet from the ground
as our hands grasp rock. Some of us turn back,
as if we’d done the right thing, the day
wakes up, sky appears as the cloud slides
away to play elsewhere,
taking the wind with it.
Suddenly we find ourselves surrounded
by another day; warm, unruffled.
We watch the others climb
the Long Stile to reach their last step
to High Street. They’ll see now the blue
in the green of Blea Water, and hear
the last call of the Nan Bield Pass, and then
an easier rock
will lead them home.
I hear a different voice; a small voice;
a bird’s song chiselling away
We follow the same path down, sit
cornered; the sun’s breath against our back,
we find a dead sheep relaxing on the grass,
watch colour, as it fills the world
An almost perfect Dor Beetle,
polished blue and an unexpected Pipistrelle
Bat, skimming like a black stone upon
some pool of air, overhead,
sew the two parts
of our surprising day
And then, as the afternoon stands knee deep
in the cool water of the lake, we close our circle;
arrive at the beginning, to find our friends;
those who followed another path. It seems
it’s not the path that’s trod that means a lot;
but the treading
and the day.