Wednesday, 29 May 2013

My heart lies in the flat lands.

We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.   The rolling hills, the dales, the rivers, the waterfalls - we seem to have it all - draw visitors from all over the world.   It is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - and rightly so.

And yet...and yet... whenever I return to the flatlands of Lincolnshire and East Anglia I know that that is where I feel most at home.

Is it something to do with having been born there, with tracing my ancestry back for generations and finding all my antecedents have been born there too?   I can surely say with certainty that the flat country is in the very fibre of my being.

I felt it recently whilst on the coast of Norfolk.    The straight, flat horizon, the wide sky, and the dawn - where just a suggestion of light stretches for a whole one hundred and eighty degrees without any interruption by a hill or a tree or a house; just flat marsh land.   And, if you look closely, patches of Brent Geese standing, backs to the wind, silent and still, waiting for a bit more light before they begin to feed.

And when the sun goes down, that same straight line of deepening red that tells it as it is, with no subtlety, no hiding behind or peeping out.

I wonder if this is reflected in the character of the people who live there.   Do they lack subtlety and tell things as they really are without any need to embroider the facts.   Or to put it another way - are they blunt and to the point?   I rather think they are.

As I muse on this and watch the light slowly filling the marsh, the Brent Geese rise suddenly, startled by some noise or some movement, calling as they go.   They take off into the wind and are quickly joined by other flocks I have not seen but which follow the call to move.

Then the skylarks begin to rise.   I can't see them but I hear them and their song is soon joined by that of a cuckoo.   Such a rare sound these days.

The tidal race comes up the creek and fills the pools and lifts the boats moored on the Quay.   The seagulls lift off the mudflats as the water rushes in.   They wheel and call and watch for any morsel of food that might come their way.

Another day has begun.   No hills, no trees, no houses, just the wide, flat salt marsh - the flat lands.   And I love them with a passion that only fully comes to me when I return.



14 comments:

Terra said...

You live in a beautiful area, one of the most beautiful in the world, I imagine, yet the flat lands, home of your ancestors, draw you. Interesting post, and is that yellow mustard in your blog head photo?

Cloudia said...

Please please say you will submit this to a larger readership who would be enriched by this heartfelt celebration of place! Wonderful writing in service to the sublime. Surely a highwater mark of my day. Thank You,


Aloha

Hildred said...

A beautiful passionate post, Pat. Lovely writing, and I feel somewhat the same, having coming from the Prairies. No matter how varied and wonderful your present surroundings are your heart somehow lies with your beginnings.

I watched an amazing documentary on the countryside in Yorkshire last night, and enjoyed it immensely. So sorry that I will probably not see it again.....

Irene said...

I too come from the flat part of the country and now live in the south in the hilly parts. I can understand very well how you feel and have that same tug of the heart when I go 'home.' I also like the straight forwardness of the people there. I am in love with the whole landscape and, although I appreciate the one here, it is not with the same amount of love.

angryparsnip said...

I have only been to your beautiful area only once and I loved it. I hope to visit again.
I understand your love of home where you grew up. But as you love the flat horizon I would be looking and missing the mountains in the distance.

Wonderful post today.

cheers, parsnip

Moonboots said...

Fab post, great writing. I feel the need to visit the flatlands now. It is strange isn't it, that call to a homeland?

Rachel said...

Blunt and to the point, call a spade a spade. That's Norfolk for you. And it is rape not mustard.
Rachel

Heather said...

Norfolk skies must be wonderful. We live surrounded by mature trees and lots of houses so only get glimpses of the sky. I love big skies where you get a skyscape rather than a landscape. Having said that, I also love the landscape of Yorkshire. It has everything - hills, dales, rivers, waterfalls, craggy outcrops, moors, etc., but not many flat bits!

Twiglet said...

Well the opposite happened to me - hence we moved from the flat lands of Selby/Howden, Yorkshire to my home country amongst the hills of the Shropshire Marches. I love being back here with the stunning view from my kitchen window. As my gran used to say - it wouldn't do for us all to be the same!! x Jo

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for all your kind comments - they are much appreciated. Please call again.

Golden West said...

That is a powerful piece of writing, Pat - I enjoyed reading it very much. 6 generations of my family have lived in this town - many of us have rambled away, only to return for the long run.

MorningAJ said...

Yorkshire folk have a reputation for being blunt, so I don't think it's linked to flat lands in any way.

Of course I'm the product of a Yorkshire mother and a Fenland father - so I have a foot in both camps. I do love the hills and Dales, but there's also something about the vast expanse of sky over the Fens that moves me too.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I know the feeling, we once lived in the desert and while it has its own kind of beauty, my heart used to ache for mountains and the ocean. I grew up in a small town in SE Alaska where the mountains came right down into the sea. It is where I feel at home - and once again we live with mountains and the ocean and it is very comforting.

Loren said...

Lovely essay, Pat.

I've had to move away from "home" several times in my life, but it has always managed to draw me back. I can't imagine being happy away from the sea and the mountains.