In Welsh it’s Hiraeth. The feeling of longing, for home, for something that never quite surfaces.
The sun beats down, relentless, shining life and heat all around. My feet walk, ever forward, step by step by step, placing down and each footstep reconnecting with the ground, the earth, my earth. Birdsong, just birdsong, rippled with the gentle rustle of leaves, so green, moving and dancing in the breeze. The scent of summer, of hazy days promised.
My breath comes faster, heading upwards, through spiky brambles and tall nettles, arms raised overhead to avoid scratches and stings. I breathe, I rest. A pool of cool , crisp, pristinely clear water collects in old stone, filled by a spring, disappearing back into the lush green grass, continuing the cycle. One more hill.
Peaks to climb. Smiling. My skin absorbs the air, prana, the beauty. The feeling of belonging courses through my veins. I reach the top and pause. Slow. Eyes drink in the view. Infinite shades of green carpet endlessly, stretched out for miles. Haze settling over distant Welsh mountains. Behind me, rolling hills mark the beginning of the Peak District, breathless beauty, depth, memories. I inhale deeply, drinking in the air, scented with grass and trees and countryside.
I meander onwards. My place, our place. A small trio of rabbits, two young, lolloping slowly in and out of a thicket of brambles, pausing, nibbling a patch of short, sun-warmed grass. I reach the edge of the ridge and the plain stretches in front of me, the roofs and spires, mill chimneys and aquaduct nestled far below. I place my hand on cool white cement, the landmark decorated for a festival, a fierce local pride, a celebration, a memory. I lie back, body sinking into the ground, melting, sensing time and distance and beings, below and above, now and then.
A time later, I descend the hill. I miss this place. I need this place. I feel this place.