Getting Away From It All

Every now and again I need a break from things when I’m feeling under pressure and nearing meltdown. My preference is to go for a walk by myself in the countryside: I’m lucky in that regard because I grew up in the midst of farmland and now live in an area that, while not rural, has accessible natural areas.

Moor Green Lakes in the Blackwater valley is one such area. It’s a nature reserve alongside the Blackwater river and I can walk along the riverside and relax watching fish, ducks, swans and, in season, the aerobatic mayflies and dragonflies. While it does attract other people, particularly dog-walkers, there are not too many of them and there are enough bends in the path that I can keep them out of sight and forget that there is anybody else around.

A swan on the Blackwater river

I took these pictures there last summer. It was a bright, sunny day but the path was shaded by trees and it was very comfortable. I lost all track of time and just kept on walking, not thinking about anything but just experiencing my surroundings. There is something about natural spaces that appeals to me: I loathe most cities with their crowds, noise, dirt and hard edges. Give me hills and valleys, fields and trees any day. Water in particular I find very relaxing. I have spent time in the Scottish Highlands around Lochs Tay and Rannoch and the English Lake District near Coniston Water and in both cases found the landscape a great help in promoting peace of mind.

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