Two things set me thinking today. First of all Thelma's post(North Stoke) about which age we would like to have lived in. Then a sentence in Iris Murdoch's 'The Bell' which I happen to be reading at present. I have tried to find it but of course I should have marked it and so I shall have to just give you the general idea. She speaks of two countrymen standing in the vegetable garden, speaking desultorily and lapsing into silence which is companionable in the kind of way which only occurs with countrymen.
I was born and brought up in the depths of the Lincolnshire fens and I know just what she means.
The same is true here - I witnessed it regularly with the farmer; he and another farmer could stand for ever looking out over the fields, speaking about some aspect now and again and then lapsing again into companionable silence as they contemplated things around them. And I suspect it was ever thus.
Living here in the Yorkshire Dales would it really have made a difference had we been born in a different age? Yes of course it would. Many of the villages around us have Viking names.For example Gunnar (a Viking name made up of words meaning 'war' and 'warrior' ) is most likely the origin of the name of the village of Gunnerside in Swaledale. With a name like that it is hard to think of the countryside as being particularly peaceful when he was around. But it was a stage in the development of the area and the true Dalesmen are no doubt descended from that time (there are still a few of them about, although obviously intermarried). Would I have liked to
live then? On reflection, no. The cold, the unrest, the worry of Viking raids. I could go on, so maybe it is the road which we have taken which is the one chosen for us. (unless of course you believe in reincarnation).
January 4, 2023: With gratitude to Rebecca Solnit / Reruns from January 30, 31 and February 1, 2, 3, 4, 2007: Mona Lisa and the Clown and the Cool Rain of the Law (1985), Woman Trying to Remember What She is Trying to Forget (1986), Painting in America (1986), Full Moon, Chair and Planter Rising (1986), Church of the Holy Contradiction, and Untitled Scene (1986)