Train Glasgow to Crewe, 5.10.20
Suddenly excitement. Travelling through England
Steely sunlight upon brilliant green grass – enervating all ycolours, pinpointing each sheep, artistically distinct, – grey steely clouds massive above, which call to be hailed and resounded by colossal choirs. Here is magnificence, which I move through with smoothness and speed on the train, travelling southwards through to England.. a new journey – can I shout it! Who would believe that the small demure figure I just saw reflected in the window could be so inwardly moved… at the drama and beauty outwith, at the momentousness of the prospect of new regions to discover, new beauties to marvels at, new vistas of the unknown, heightened with the challenges of rain, cold, wind and weather, of human frailty in the face of dampness and fog.
But now in the actuality of living life in the present – unexpectedly – suddenly aware of the wonderfulness of travelling again…
More sheep, caught in artistic detail, the corner of a smooth running river – a steely white reflection, like a silver coin planted amongst the landscape of greens, soft and fully wet – wet without rain.
I have to look, loath to miss any of it.
Black silhouettes of pines just now by the line as we pass.
Feeling myself reconnecting with something huge that was becoming lost – passing three Asians earlier as I cycled to the station through back ways of Glasgow, who struck me as exotic, so I wanted to observe them and look longer. Then I remember how formerly I’d travelled through their original countries, how I’d become familiar with their culture, such that the ways of those places for a while had become normality.
Maybe it has something to do with the clouds – massive, rising, grey centred, edged with white which sears with a brilliance to match my present feelings – present, moving, changing awaiting the drama of the journey to be enacted, startled to action, by the sunlight that streams upon me through the window as we glide. It’s more than serenity now, when that sun streams down (which is not always, when it goes, the sheep are again woolly and grey).
Just now excitement prevails
The Bay of Biscay 12.10.20
How to share all that has happened in the five days since my last notes. Here now upon the Port Aven boat, somewhere in the beautiful deep grey blue of the Bay of Biscay – there’s a map of the sea on the upper (tenth) deck of the boat, indicating part that we cross is 4000 metres deep, where sperm whales 18 metres long lurk, and occasionally surface to be seen.
Colossal too is this ship, upon the sixth deck of which I stand, at the rear, overlooking two nozzles of spewing white foam emanating behind as the giant engines power us along. It’s a smooth ride, as the Frenchman commented; and he surely must know; he’d been tying up my bicycle (somewhat cursorarily).
On this deck you can walk around the whole ship, suggesting the aesthetics of the French, (which makes me feel a reason for sometime returning to their country.) As I promenaded around I was sorry this journey is so soon to be ended, and that I couldn’t be on the boat for several days with a luxurious excess of time, taking the walk around the deck every few hours, until in the end I’d become bored of it.
Everything is exciting now – maybe rendered more so because of the uncertainty, (maybe) – how will it be when we get there? Will they let us all in, even though we have filled in the forms, and got everything right as far as we are able. No matter ones carefulness one is always caught out with procedures, which change with the wind, but are set in stone.
But now, the sea and the wondrousness of all about me is so overwhelming, to defer these considerations to insignificance. And I am excited at prospect of the journey ahead.
Whilst my journey just earlier (which I had sat down intending to write about) across the south of England, from Yeovil to Plymouth, full of greenery, leaves and forest beauty, with golden streams of autumn light, purple moors with rocky tors, pitch dark in my tent til the moon came out in early morning. Now passedl it’s become a nugget in my mind, of the beauty of existence which I cannot readily unravel without disrupting its serenity, even though at the time it seemed so full of points of interest to share.
There’s excitement too in the prospect of learning more Spanish, of being amongst its gentle inhabitants. For I loved Spain before, and already I begin to love it again.
On the summit if Alto de Toro 17.10.20
Now I see the snow – extensive and foreboding upon two higher ranges of mountains inland from here, whilst on my other side is the Cantabrian Sea, which I crossed, coming on the boat. So I’ve not yet lost sight of my starting point, even if, well, being up here on this grassy mountain-top (a modest mountain of 985m) – but yet with a huge space around it, looking out to so many other peaks and sierras, the higher ones snowed, with their heads nestled in chains of cloud.
There, back towards the sea, is the smaller peak I climbed yesterday, called Ibio, ascending in thick rain, only able to guess at its character from dim enshrouded clues. I found a stony track meandering all the way to the summit, so I kept on my bicycle and rode, emerging above the forest, where the grass was well grazed, and numerous horses, nonchalant of the wet, rendered some company, not minding me. Somehow because of them I felt, as I was descending, that something special and of note had just happened there.
Recalling now why I wanted to come here, to this minor range of foothills, marked on my map as Sierra Ucieda, because, on my first day in Spain, from the clifftop where I sat above the beach, I noticed a jagged line of peaks, and felt the urge to go there. So there was my first step, my first decision with the freedom of having no plans (there had been some, but they’d all got demolished on the way). So now the journey moved a step at a time..
That’s two giant’s steps, I’ve made since sitting there above the quebradas on the cliff, my first footprint made on the summit of Ibio, there with the horses, and a second giant stride bringing me here to this summit where I’m magnetised by the gigantic scale of all I see around. Just as I’ve been thinking ever since I arrived of the extensiveness of so may things in Spain. Studying my atlas earlier I found more mountain ranges, than I could readily take iSo
and when I looked at my road maps I found more ranges within these, and whenever I look I find more; and so many forests, hermitages, parks and reserves. It seems I’ve no hope of forming a picture of it all, yet there lies the inspiration, in the desire, step by step, to somehow achieve this, to the point I decide I’ve tried enough.
Step by step, each view a tiny corner of this vast and complicated land.
So much of everything, so much rain recently fallen, the rivers swirling up their banks, gushing down in buff brown torrents, so much beauty in the forest that I passed earlier,