Saturday, 28 June 2008

The Hill

This post is about one of my favourite places - Waden Hill at Avebury. This is the view from half way up the hill looking towards the ever enigmatic Silbury. My picture (taken a couple of days ago) doesn't convey the wind in my hair as I walked; nor have I captured the small downland butterflies that fluttered up from the grasses as I passed by; or the solitary song of the skylark.

For convenience I live and work in a town, so places like Waden Hill are very precious to me. I am forever grateful that I can take a bus ride and within a short time be in the heart of Wiltshire's downland. Waden Hill is the place I go to refresh mind and spirit, where I feel at one with the landscape and the elements. There is almost always a fresh breeze up there which blows away the mental cobwebs of everyday living.

I have recently become re-acquainted with the English poet, John Masefield who was born on 1st June 1878 and was one of life's wanderers, having gone to sea on a windjammer at the age of 15. He became Poet Laureate in 1930 and spent the last 28 years of his life in Abingdon, Berkshire where he died on 12th May 1967. He was famous for writing very long poems so here is just the last two verses of his reflective poem, The Hill.

Is it heedless?
Is it heartless, or unjudging, or forgetful, or immune?
Do we apprehend its nature, can we comprehend its power,
We, as mortal as the sparrow, as fading as the flower,
And as changing as the Moon?

Let them answer
Who reply to every question, as befits an iron time.
I can only see the valley with a million grass-blades blowing
And a hill with clouds above it whither many larks are going
Singing paeans as they climb.

(Also this evocative piece of music)