I went for a walk with Janet on my last day in Bentham. A 23 hour stroll over the hills ending in a little cafe in Feizor. There was a shelf full of books by our table , one of them a photo-book with beautiful colour landscape shots of North Yorkshire. The photos were made on 35mm transparncy film with abundant use of enhancement filters and taken mostly in the sort of warm late-afternoon light that makes everything look good.
I used to dream of doing the same as a living when I was younger - I had the creative-eye and the technique... but not the financial means or the equipment. My life took another path because my passion wasn't strong enough to keep me on this one. I still don't have the professional equipment, but technology and a decent photo-manipulation program means I can play at creating images that I dreamed of making all those years ago. . . and with ease.
The photos below are just snapshots, but they give an impression of how this Yorkshire landscape looks through my eyes . . . when I'm really looking.
My brother Kevin lives in the Lake District - a crown of the English countryside. My sister prefers the ruggedness of the moors and dales in Yorkshire. Narrow roads wind seemingly endless over wild, open, wind-swept marshes, hills torn open like rough scars on a barren wilderness. Dry-stone walls stretch out in every direction like veins across the contours of the fells and valleys. Sheep everywhere - white-measle dots on the red, brown, yellow and green wilderness Heavy clouds brush the fell-peaks and cast ominent shadows of melancholy with their Northern Grey.
I watched a documentary about the world-famous, Yorkshire artist David Hockney, who'd returned from Los Angeles to re-discover his Heimat. He knew the secret of this landscape and he painted it exquisitely. The openess can be overwhelming - where do you look, what do you focus on?. . . there is so much space. This landscape speaks like an ancient oak - husky whispers of thousands of years of history - you don't really need to look. . . it's enough just to listen!
But whether you run or not - you can't come to this country and not at least walk - and when you walk, it's like coming home in your heart.