Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Not a daffodill in sight

After studying literature I have always associated the Lakes with the likes of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey. Disregarding the whole tourist industry that has built up around it's Literary heritage (we do not 'wonder lonely as a cloud' but rather passively as a sheep around the tiny rooms of Dove Cottage, dine at the Wordsworth hotel, drink at the Southey Arms), The Lakes, I'm sure, have not changed that much since their poets filled their notebooks at the turn of the 19th century. The scenery is still sublime, the air ripe for contemplation, and the mass of water (rain, river and lake) makes everything thing seem a little melancholy, suddenly you are a poet, a writer, an artist, a philosopher!

After I got over the initial moment of awe and sense of my own humble existence (Wordsworth will tell you all about that) I remembered that the Lake Poets and the Romantic Movement were never really a great favorite of mine and became thankful that I made my visit at a time of year when there were no daffodils for people to quote 'that' poem to me. But it was easy to see why they chose here to write. Thomas De Quincey calculated in his 'Recollections of the Lakes and the Lake Poets' that Wordsworth must have walked 175,000 to 180,000 miles in the area as inspiration for his poetry. The lakes is an almost prehistoric return to nature to nature, simply walking just as the poets had done I saw the constantly changing harmonies of water, hills and sky. The nights were silent, the air clean(er), I wondered around on hills with no one else in eye sight, the Herwick sheep, took great pleasure in hot drinks made on a camping stove overlooking the expanse of Windermere...so simple yet so rare in the hustle and bustle of modern life. It brings you back to yourself. It makes you re-evaluate everything you do when all it takes is a cup of tea and a view of a bit of water, some mountains and some rain to make you feel peaceful again.

More photos of the Lakes can be found in my Flickr Gallery

An aside: Prefer the Liverpool poets myself, check Roger McGough's version of 'that' poem

Wandering along the road
by the lake, I saw a load
of golden daffodils
Ten thousand, give or take.

Now and then
I think of them again.

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