I recently had an outdoor-sy holiday in the Peak District, Derbyshire. This one.
While walking at dusk, through hammering rain, with not a single artificial light in sight.
Everyone stop. Just stop, and listen. Listen to the rain in the pine trees, listen to the rustle of the heather underfoot, listen to the gurgle of the water trickling slowly down a hundred different streams. This landscape has likely been like this for a hundred million years, and will be like this a hundred million years in the future. That sound, the rain and the trees and the water, is a sound that is echoing forwards and backwards through time. If you listen to that sound, you are transcendent. You are so much more than your little human life. You are listening to the past. You are listening to the future. It is so, so beautiful.
While walking down a rugged road at night.
Turn off your torches. For the past million years, we haven’t had torches. We have four and half senses that work just as well in the dark as in full light. Don’t bother to use a torch just for the benefit of your rod cells. If you wait a few minutes in the dark, you can see. You can see the path, you can see the tree line, you can see the moon through the clouds. Even if the person behind you is tripping over rocks and stumbling through streams, you can see. Wait for your eyes to adjust, and all will become clear.
While walking up the Derwent Dam road.
Look at what we do to the world. This used to be a flat-bottomed valley, with a river winding it’s way along the bottom. There used to be trees, farms, a few villages. Now there is water. About 2 billion gallons, 9 megalitres of water. Why do we do this, people? We have water – this is the north of England, it rains every other minute. If this was California, I would know where you were coming from. But the Ladybower-Derwent-Howden reservoir complex has about 45 billion litres of water. Which has stayed above 50% full for the past 10 years. Why do we need to blight the landscape like this?