A short story about exploring the British countryside and the importance of slowing down.
Words: Laura Pendlebury
Photography: Mirko Nicholson
Missing the last bus is not the way to begin a good story. Missing the last bus means expensive taxi fares or trudging miserably down endless busy roads. In this case, it resulted in the latter option. Standing in the middle of seemingly nowhere there seemed to be no other option but to walk the 4 miles to the train station. The late afternoon of a grey, windy day was slowly turning to early evening so we set off with a quicker pace down the winding country roads. Walking too quickly down the deserted lanes we must have overlooked the silent beauty of the landscape around us, too focused on our aim of getting to the train station as fast as possible. It was only when we were forced to stop by the physical end of the road and the small barbed wire fence in front of us that we took stock of our surroundings and truly looked around. Our need to walk as quickly as possible, head down, destination intent in true commuter style evaporated. Climbing carefully over the fence we arrived at the top of a field, several fields in fact, rolling endlessly into the distance. They were flooded in the type of light that stops you in your tracks, the kind that makes you breathe clearer, slower, calmer. This was the kind of light which stills any internal thoughts or worries, the kind where you can stand back and simply appreciate the true beauty to be found in the simplicity of nature.
Shards of glistening, translucent light were piercing through the heavy grey clouds, casting a golden glow over everything they touched and the previously flat, nondescript fields had taken on a new dimension, developed a magical quality. Even the barbed wire we had just crossed lost its menacing quality and took on a softer tone when bathed with this unexpected evening glow. Our walking slowed to a stroll, we stopped rushing, stopped caring about the time it would take to reach the station. Flecks of white dandelion floated lazily through the air and the smell of fresh grass hung delicately in the background. An average, slightly miserable grey day had become the perfect definition of a classic English summer. As far as we were now concerned, the more time spent in these glowing fields the better. We arrived at the train station just as the final remnants of light were fading from the sky and dusk was truly turning to night. It had taken much longer than we originally planned and yet it had been a while since we had felt this relaxed, this content. Missing the last bus this day had taught me something invaluable, something I had always known but so easily lost in today’s ever changing and constantly moving pace of life. I learnt the importance of appreciating the journey as much as the destination. I learnt that slowing down and looking around you, really looking, can be the most relaxing, the most rewarding thing you can do.