My heart is bangbangbangbangbanging against my chest, blood swooshing through my ears. Face red, icy wind whipping, stinging, prickling at my skin. Rain, always rain, soaking into the grass, slipping, sliding, ever upwards. Knees starting to tremble, but yes that’s it, I’m there, I’ve made it, I’m finally home, I’m home, I’m home.
There’s something about coming home. I need space. I need quiet. I need to sort out who I am and what I’m going to do. Two roads stretch out in front, entirely different, entirely strange, one easy, one hard.
And this visit is needed. Up high, turning, gazing far, far, all the colours of green, the rolling hills, the peak district stretching beautifully and softly all around. The atmosphere is thick, familiar. With every breath it envelops me, home, clearing whirling thoughts. The familiar view. The canal, the mills, the village nestling below me. Memories, parts of me, rise and fall. My breathing slows. I lean against the cool white, run my fingers over the familiar surface, tracing out carved names, remembering making our mark every new year. Solitary figures, weatherproof maps, sturdy boots, saunter past, and stop. Halt at the sudden view. Flatness stretching for miles, childhood mapped out in front. I feel lucky this is a part of me.
Silence wraps around, softly interrupted by haunting notes of winds, whirling around the time weathered stone. Garner-esque possibilities are written here, in this land, in this air. Time, many hands, many boots.
I settle, breathing the countryside deep into my soul, locking it away, this essence. The need to reconnect and to root here. A quiet walk back, as if not to disturb the village. Twilight is falling. Pinpoints of lights appear, one by one, darkness rolling down, over the hills, the quarries, the worn pathways. Settling in.