One of the pleasures of extended walking is how you immerse yourself into the hills. When you wild camp this is uninterrupted: you walk, pitch, eat, drink, sleep, wake, eat, drink, and walk again. It’s a lovely experience, a fine antidote for the ills of city living and how we are insulated from nature with concrete, tarmac, and daily activity with contrary rhythms. I enjoy books where this relationship features; where lives are defined by nature. One aspect of it is how nature can be read if we know how to look. This beautiful passage comes from Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier: “Esco and Sally listed the old signs they had noted of a hard winter coming. Grey squirrels rattling in hickory trees, frantic to hoard more and more nuts. Wax thick on the crab apples. Wide bands of black on caterpillars. Yarrow crushed between the hands smelling as sharp as falling snow. Hawthorns loaded with red haws burning bright as blood” (43). There’s been snow in Scotland for weeks now, and it’s recently fallen in the Lake District. I wonder what the signs are in Britain, and if anyone knows what kind of winter is coming.

 

Mountains And Nature

Sunday November 4, 2012