For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Borderland/Heartland

I live in a village on the county border of Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. I've always been attracted to borders, margins, the edges of things. I feel at home there. Perhaps it's because borders are a little insecure, a little unstable, neither one thing nor the other but a little of both: a no-man's land. The shifting nature and illusory quality of border regions definitely stirs something deep and inexplicable within me. Is this why I feel at home on the Camino? Or am I just some restless spirit, doomed never to find his geographical or spiritual home? Strangely, most of my life I've never actually lived on the edges or extremities of countries. Most of my life I've lived in various parts of Middle England. But I've always dreamed of living in the Pyrenees, that exciting mountainous frontier between France and Spain; or anywhere on the coast; or in the far north of Scotland, or the furthest west of Brittany. I've written before about borders here.

For some reason I was thinking about all these things on a walk I did today. I hadn't been out on a proper walk for ages, what with one thing and another - and this morning I was really relishing the prospect of a good long walk in the countryside. The day dawned dull and grey, but by late morning the sky had cleared and the sun was playing hide-and-seek with the clouds, so I set out for Tealby in the Lincolnshire Wolds. I'd resolved earlier in the year to get to know better the land on my own doorstep.

The Wolds are a series of low chalk hills and steep-sided valleys in the heart of Lincolnshire. They were designated an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1973. All Saints' Church, Tealby, is perfectly situated on the hill at the top end of this picturesque village...

To be continued...

9 comments:

Raph G. Neckmann said...

You should be a TV script writer, SW - I was all nice and drawn into a long walk there, and suddenly when I scrolled down --- ummmph! 'To be continued.'

Just like Heroes, only you can't see next week's episode now on another channel!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

What a lovely churchyard…as seen from the south looking north, with an east wind.

You know, Solitary, I believe borders and edges are the natural place of living things. Humans as well as animals, birds, fish, are all naturally drawn to these margins and transition zones. It certainly seems the case, anyway.

I currently live on a border (cottage beside a river); I have a piece of land on another water border (Lake Superior.) For me, borders seem to give a dual vision, a way of being here and seeing there. Doubtless at times an illusion. Yet when I'm close to a border, I feel I have a choice to sample either side.

Edges are that frisson zone where things happen. The point where excitement dwells. They aren't limited to the physical or geographical, either: consider a relationship at an "edge," good or bad. Or that point when you really realize you're weighing a certain decision regarding your job—and in a moment or a day will make a life-changing choice.

Borders, edges, transitions—I think it's easy to see why life heads their way.

beatingthebounds said...

Tealby is a lovely spot. I went walking there a couple of summers ago with my two eldest kids and a gaggle of some of my cousins children who took great delight in plodging in the stream. We built little boats from bark and leaves and I seem to remember that there was a rather nice cafe.
My Dad is from the Wolds and regular visits to Osgodby were a feature of my own childhood, but sadly I don't know the area well. Am looking forward to reading more here.

gleaner said...

Really SW, some of the things you write about make me think we are kindred spirits...I had intended to write on this topic too :)
The concept of belonging, home, boundaries, borders and refugees have always fascinated me.

I've dreamed of living in the ragged mountainous areas of France (well before it become a trendy notion for the socially aspiring set). Marcel Pagnol's books and the films are my dream.

I'm really looking forward to the continuation of this post.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Gosh Robert - it is a long time since I went to Tealby - is it still as pretty a village as it used to be?

Rachel Fox said...

You'd better get back to walking...or you'll have to change your name!
x

The Solitary Walker said...

Er, Rachel, um, what? This IS about walking! Isn't it? For the first time in ages! Or did you read the post differently?

Perhaps I'll change my name anyway. For a change. Any suggestions?

'The Occasionally Rambling Blogger' doesn't sound memorable enough...

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks everyone for these comments...

Raph: Perhaps there should be a between-post intermission with ice-cream and predatory usherettes shining torches onto back row snogging couples..!

Bella: Pagnol - fantastic - those films are wonderful...

Grizzled: Your comment has stimulated me no end, and I'd really like to continue with this theme...

BTB & Weaver: Yes, still lovely...

Rachel Fox said...

I meant get back to it regularly!
x