Monday, October 11, 2010

The ride over the Long Mountain

Some years ago I remember talking to a work-mate about their daily commute to work - it was something like 50 minutes each way. To me who lived a mere 5 minutes distant this seemed like a trudge too far. I could dart in and out, going from office to kitchen in something like 5 minutes. No, they said, it was not a problem. Quite the reverse in fact. The journey home in particular allowed time to unwind and to let the stresses of work slip away. The division between work and home was thus clearly defined. Stuff from 'there' could be kept there, home was a retreat and a haven reached through the motoring equivalent of whatever submariners have to pass through to get from in to out. I understand now....

An 'air-lock'. That's my ride home...a quick left turn off the main road, a bit of a climb through Westbury, Vennington and Vron Gate and onto the ribbon of road which follows the spine of the Long Mountain. It may or may not be a Roman road but I'll be bound that some Roman road building engineers took the measure of it en route from Forden Gaer to Wroxeter. They may though have settled on the less wild, low-lying land at the foot of the mountain's eastern slope and got their feet wet into the bargain. 

It's an old, old place up here - older than Roman, it's height and panoramic views give it strategic clout and the one or two known burial mounds make it a place of some spiritual importance too. The Celts retreated to the west and it would be many years before the Normans claimed the valleys to the east. Perhaps the Long Mountain was a place for grazers, outsiders, waifs and strays, and those who could find safety in its dingles and clefts.  I surmise.  I am one of a long line of souls to be found wandering up here. There will be others after me.

These last few days, boxed every which way into confusion by my poor Glam Ass's injury, have led me to seek out the solitude of this high place. A slow drive along the narrow road - this morning with fog around my shoulders, landscape joyously and luminously aglow with the brilliance of the rising sun - has done much to clear my head.  Stop to breathe the air. Go fast, go slow. Some days the landscape stretches forever and some days, like today, it is limited to a protective cocoon. There are sheep and the same old faces, trees and men twisted by the seasons - blown into shape by prevailing winds and fortune. There is familiarity and there are small changes. I note what I can. Feel calmer.

I will drive along there tomorrow too, unwinding as the road unwinds before me. A great ride home.

PS I would take photographs but you would only see a grey road, bent trees and grazing sheep. Maybe I shall do that one day and try and make it seem preferable to the lower, slicker route where some prat behind me is always intent on driving too close for comfort....

12 comments:

elizabethm said...

Once again you have written the perfect blog. I am glad this drive is giving you your own particular airlock.

Pondside said...

Your airlock is something we all need - sometimes more than at other times. I heard through SBS about your Glam Ass's accident. I hope he is doing well - big sympathy from over here!

Wipso said...

Hi. Was hoping your daily rides had stopped by now...as I'm sure your Glam Ass. was too. Any news on his home coming yet? Really hope it's all going well.
A x

Twiglet said...

Thanks for the breathing space! I must do that run - it must be better than the other road's potholes and mud! Do hope your G.A. is improving and soon ready for R & R in the tranquility of your mountain kingdom!

Frances said...

How beautifully you write! I am so glad to have been able to read this post, and to see Long Mountain without the need for any camera's aid.

Sending you and yours all my best wishes. xo

VIP LABELS said...

That's a lovely post. We all need an airlock. And we all climb hills it seems to get away. Working from home I have no journey to work and so have to invent one, leaving the house to walk round the block in the morning and up to the Tump in the evening. I've often driven past the Long Mynd on my way to or from North Wales and will think of this post now when I pass it next time.

Chris Stovell said...

I seem to have missed some news - I hope the Glamm Ass is on the mend and that calm is restored over at your.

HER ON THE HILL said...

I fear I am missing something here too - clearly a drama has happened. Do hope all will be well in the end.

I love my hill retreat - it is where I find peace. Yet, I also understand how, when I finally escape it, I also enjoy time spent in the car - just me, my music and my thoughts. It's amazing how it can clear the head and often helps put niggling things in my life into perspective. Thus I can also understand your friend's commute offered time and space for the necessary transition from work life to home life.

A lovely, thoughtful and descriptive post.

rachel said...

What has happened to the Glam Ass? Do tell; we will worry otherwise.

I used to have an airlock - a leafy little lane through part of Jesmond Dene from the worst job/most poisonous colleagues I ever had to home - then the council deemed it a rat run, and blocked it off to cars. A sensible move, but I had to change jobs after that.....

CAMILLA said...

A lovely well written post Mountainear. I crave an inner peace, and a simple journey for me along the windy lanes here in Norfolk is an escape for me. I can forget my worries and embrace that little bit peace within.

Do hope your hubby is recovering well and won't be long before he is back home with you. Best Wishes to you and your's dear Mountainear.

xx

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Yes , I use my ten minute bike ride home to switch off . Sometimes it's not long enough , though I'm usually too bushed to go round again !
I do hope Glam. Ass. is feeling much better and that your life is beginning to return to normal .

Tattie Weasle said...

A switching off period, sounds like a blessing rather than a chore. I'll not look at commuting in quite the same light again.
PS Hope Glam Ass is on the mend...