24 September 2020

Blowin' in the Wind

The thousand mile eye test....






How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?






I've been on a road trip.  1,175 miles to be exact.

I've been testing my eyes......

I've been shaking the limbs, seeing old friends, feeling the world.

It's been a weary long time.  With the exception of one night in Oxfordshire some weeks ago, Amanda has not slept away from the house since last December, and we just needed to see a different horizon....





We were in Norfolk, where we watched birds at dusk....







Marvelling at the  shapes against the sky, whether pairs of silhouetted cormorants......







Or tangles of Knots in their thousands as the tide pushes them shorewards.....






These waders flock in murmurations like starlings as the waters rise.....






Chasing their leaders across the mud flats.....






These are sights to make a virus smile.....






Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?



The next day, we eat prawns, and crab sandwiches, and drink beer, on the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea.  It's almost like being on holiday.....






Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn't see?


And then we head north.  

At Mount Grace Priory I am reminded that there was a time when the government could make catastrophic decisions whose effects would last for centuries.....







Not far away, a sign reminds me of James Cook.  Some people's greatness is someone else's ruin......






And then we strike on up the coast road north.  Sky and sea and land melding in the distance.  It is so good to have a view, to see somewhere else.  Cooped up like frightened creatures, threatened with terrifying consequences, deprived of light and life, we have survived.  But life should be more than survival.....  The road is to be travelled.






At North Berwick, I gaze out to the Bass Rock, just loving to see something else.  


Yes, 'n' how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?






We reach our apex at Loch Leven, where the light is dull and the birds low key.   But there's a distant beauty about the open view, the gleam of silver in the sky and the muted greens and browns of the land.  Just so different from the 'home' counties.  There's a stillness, a quietness, that is hard to find in the south.....

Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?





Then we begin the long slide back down the map.  We break the first day's journey at Cragside, where time stopped ages ago, the inventor of artillery now at peace....







And where, for me, a skinny shadow of my young self still walks in evening mists on the haughs by the Coquet at Thropton, under the Simonsides, wishing for love.....






Then we pause a while at York, whose defensive stones still draw the pilgrims,






And whose glorious Minster is sadly closed to those, who like us, didn't make it quite on time.....  Or who, somehow, don't qualify.....






Then we find ourselves back 'home.'  Though that word seems to mean less these days.  The rain falls, washing moss from the roof, and rinsing the cobwebs from my confused braincells.

A new day dawns, and we walk in quiet lanes, sunlight dappling the fresh green leaves.  And we disappear again into our impoverished routines, flicking from one press conference to another, radio news to tv news, via Prime Minister's Questions to Ministerial statements, wondering whether it will ever end......

Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take 'til he knows
That too many people have died?






I've been on a road trip.  1,175 miles to be exact.

I've been testing my eyes......

I've been shaking the limbs, seeing old friends, feeling the world.






And I still don't know if I can see.....






The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind

 

Bob Dylan



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