step back
walking blue

I don't know what I think I'll find on that distant blue hill, but by now I know I won't find it. Whatever it might be maintains the climb. Whatever it might be distracts you from the climb.

mountains at the McKinnon pass

I forever want to be over there. Never here. I can't work out how to want to be here.

standing in the river, looking at the hills

It's been the same on every long walk I've ever taken. Alone or in company, I always drift away, sometimes for long stretches. It can be the same with live music. I want to sit among the notes and noise, so deep you couldn't dig me out, but I end up being somewhere else.

On a family holiday to Normandy, I remember looking down from the battlements of a medieval castle onto a steep, pine clad hillside. I could see an unmarked spot between the trees, far from any visible path, that I longed to be standing on for no reason at all. I wanted to walk up that hill and be able to look back on where I was standing now. I didn't want to be standing here. I thought - if only I could get to there, and stand there, on that exact, unreachable spot amongst those French pines, that would be it.

I have the same urge twenty years later. Time heaves past. I still gaze at far hills thinking those must be the ones. If I could stand amongst that colour, if I could bury myself in that blue, that would be it.

the Clinton valley from the high pass

Rebecca Solnit writes about this blue of distance, how it is merely a bending of the light. If you were transported over there and looked back, the spot you stood on just a moment before would be blue. I imagine that humans have gazed at the far blue of mountains and felt a longing to be amongst that distant colour, thousands of years before anyone questioned why it even looks that way, why far slopes look like they're calling when things close to us stay quiet.

a walkway through the valley

I try to remember, especially when I find myself at the high and wondrous edges of the world, that anywhere we stand looks blue from afar. I should want to be here. I should be climbing to keep still.

Clinton Valley 080323