Journal excerpt: I am an ‘amphibian’. I love the hustle and bustle of the city, its people and the way you can’t help but interact with them. In the city, it seems the clock rules and I spend much effort reminding myself to ‘be’, and not to be wholly governed by mechanical time. It’s there that I learn about others, and human nature. I love it.
But, I am an ‘amphibian’ and the city is only part of my life. This morning I woke early and just couldn’t get back to sleep. The more I tried to return to my slumbers, the more fidgety I became.
There was only one thing for it. A walk, a jaunt, an encounter with wild nature in all its glory that was just waiting for me – baring its teeth just outside the door. I’m not in the city, right now, but rural, wild, unpredictable, north Wales.
I love pure, unadulterated nature. It’s there that I can ‘be’ myself – no effort required, and spend some effort, sometimes, in reminding myself that mechanical time has its benefits, in part, but not in rural areas. Not today!
I quickly checked the weather forecast: cloudy, slight wind, but dry. I wrapped up warm, and left the house with a smile on my face – pure contentment.
Promising myself a brisk one-hour walk, I headed toward the slopes of Yr Wydfa. It was awesome. The clouds above were low, and boasting various shades of mid to dark grey. The high parts moved slow, but the ones that looked at you could almost touch them, moved fast, like smoke from a chimney pot, just above my head. It was indeed cloudy, slightly windy, but dry.
Dry that is, until, following the mountain pass, I entered through the sheep gate. If I didn’t know it before, I now know, that that area is exposed. Not only does the path turn and head east – sea-ward – but the rocky outcrops that afforded some protection against the elements had ‘disappeared’, and rather than form a ‘wall’ to one side of the path, they now hugged the ground, like a set of ‘molars’, thick and wide, waiting to trip a hapless hiker.
Mountains and valleys have their own weather-systems. When the weather forecast said it was going to be cloudy, slightly windy and dry it was only one-third correct, and didn’t take into account Welsh micro-climates. Upon entering the sheep-gate the cloud cover remained the same. Correct. But, the wind was now a gale. So much so, that I had to arch my body forward at 45 degrees just to remain upright. But, the gale wasn’t constant, and would diminish abruptly for short periods. My progress therefore ranged from fighting-the-wind-and-standing still, to falling head-first when it abated.
And the rain? Within ten seconds it was a though someone had thrown a large, cold bucket of water over me. I laughed, smiled and got a mouth-full of wind-assisted cold rain water. That made me laugh even more. And, I then got a second mouthful. By the third, I was cold, wet and drenched, and had learned to keep my mouth firmly shut.
Shortly after this, as the sun came up, and as I turned about to retrace my steps and head home (for a hearty, much-needed, ‘explorers’ breakfast) two thoughts came to me. The first was, ‘You can’t get wetter than wet’. You can’t get wetter than drenched’, and that cheered me up, oddly. Inwardly smiling, I wondered if the spirit of Dr Seuss was talking to me? The thought certainly sounded Seuss-like. The rain has soaked though to my skin, and I didn’t care, now. I was drenched. And, it couldn’t get worse. I couldn’t get wetter than wet.
The second thought was, ‘You love this.’ And, it’s true, I do! How could I object? This was wild nature, wild and wet and windy. And, if you’ll excuse the pun, I was in my element, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Said the ‘amphibian’.