Winter In The Peak District
Here, in the wilder Shires, life is good, even in the winter. Four cows are snug in the byre. Hay is piled outside and you can smell its aroma way before you reach it. The cats sit about calmly, thinking of mice. Smoke drifts lazily into High Street from stone chimneys. Few people are around and cottages look cosy and warm through tiny windows. At night, Christmas lights glow beneath a clear sky. The moon shines bright, glistening off the wet roofs. The Queens Arms has two Christmas trees hanging off the front wall. Inside, lights sparkle and call you across the threshold. Out on one of the green roads, a massive flock of sheep are being moved down to new fields. Hence, they cooperate, eager for fresh grass. This is winter in the Peak District and we, the few, are fortunate.
Certainly, I am not crossing the threshold into the Queens Arms. There nestles the bug! Cattle, sheep, cows, the moon, the green lanes, none of them present a health risk. However, with all this comfort I still have to be sad. Outside the Shires, outside my cosy, self centred life, things are not well. Being retired, I don’t have to work each day, to travel on the underground. I imagine the horrors of having to catch a plane or be on a cruise ship. Even worse, I imagine waking up and having to work in the NHS. Neither do I have to struggle with my finances. Finally, I imagine all that grief when so many have died of Covid. Death and funerals are always out on the periphery, often ignored by society.
Winter in the Peak District
The attractions of the city, of seeing and enjoying people, have become a threat. As a result, I am even finding joy in relative loneliness. Isolation is safe. Walking and running over dales, with no people around, is effective displacement. As a result of all this, I think I am experiencing survivor guilt. Nature is our companion and we converse with trees, cattle and the expansive skies. However, I am aware that most people are not able to do this. Consequently, anxiety, stress, isolation and grief are at record levels. Certainly, looking on, helpless, is not a good place to be.
PS. My photo is Ann on our usual walk around the village on 27th November 2021. Snowed in and no power!