She, an elephant of the African plains, lived to the age of seventy. Strong and guiding, her migration led her to past many wonders, eighty kilometres a day, year upon year. For two million kilometres she walked.
We woke in the hut before dawn. The logs in the burner, the night previous so alive, had faded, leaving us huddled side by side in our sleeping bags like penguins in a storm. Too cold to sleep, we rose, pulled on our hats and gloves and pushed open the cabin’s creaking, wooden door.
Cloud branched through the valleys beneath our vantage point, and the low scrub that populated the Luxmore slopes lay frozen with wind-sculpted ice shards.
Some time later, the night’s sky turned sapphire. The sun climbed slowly beyond the eastern ranges, at first, oddly cooling, before washing the scene with a warm amber light. My capillaries flooded with love, and, at that moment, I was present.
A couple of weeks ago, whilst rambling through the wild flower-strewn grazing lands of the Mendip Hills just south of Bristol, a friend told me I must read Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places. I received the book yesterday and immediately got to it.
Ten pages in, I began to feel unusually torn: Macfarlane’s writing is evocative and luring, yet with each page I turn I want to drop the book and venture out into the wild. This is a compliment, no doubt, to an author and a book that, based on the first chapter alone, must be read by anyone with an ounce of longing for the wilderness running through their veins.