I am going to write about a short but wonderful bike ride, a ride that left me buoyed up by the beauty to be found in a familiar landscape.
But make me a promise. Before you read this in full scroll down the page to the video link that I have placed at the end. Give it a click, and let the music drift over you while you read.
This was a familiar route, a short, signposted route that I have been riding ever since I moved here, winter, summer, wind, rain and snow. Nominally it is a mountain bike route, but I have always found it rideable on a touring bike with study tyres except in the depths of winter, so it was just right today for my current steed.
But today it seemed different, I was excited by almost every corner. Why? Well this is in fact the first time I have just “jumped on a bike” and ridden for fun since I was hit by Deep Vein Thrombosis in Taiwan nearly two months ago.
And we have also just had our first serious rainfall for weeks, much of northern Europe has been suffering some really low rainfall levels in recent months, so the storms have given the plant life a huge shot of energy, turning the leaves a stunning green, although the fields have soaked it up in an instant.
It was all there, everything I love in this landscape wrapped in a short bike ride.
Hawthorn bursting into swathes of blossom
Dappled shade beneath the beech trees
Big big skies
Private paths, tucked behind churches, chapels and farms
I am doing my best to convey it in words and photography, but of course these pages can only hint at the fresh breeze and the warmth of the sun.
Which brings me to the sound. Our garden is a haven for woodland birds and in the valley below we can hear the ducks and geese. But up on the plateau above the fields bring a new sound. Skylarks. Invisible to the eye, but bringing the perfect accompaniment to my ride.
“The Lark Ascending” by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Keep it running while you read the rest of your emails, potter about on your computer and just do – stuff.
The lark is ascending and so are my spirits – I do not despair.