Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 Retrospective: Exploring

[Hiking fashion]

First, a little music for you.

Now that I've been to Scotland, “exploring” has a new meaning to me. I picked-up an Edinburgh guidebook while I was there this last summer, and I'll never forget the command on the cover (probably uttered by a Scottie dog): “Don't be boring, go exploring!” This was a little day trip that I'm so glad that I took. I remember still being in England and talking over my whim of heading farther north with a friend that I had just met, and she advised: “Edinburgh is a city not unlike San Francisco—its charm is readily apparent.” I so enjoyed the castles, bagpipes, Laura Ashley store, tartans, toffee pudding, and tea shops.

After coming back from this magical adventure in the United Kingdom I’ve sought to incorporate many of the elements that I experienced and enjoyed into my everyday, and it should be noted that most of these do not have to do with city life. Sure, I went to Edinburgh, and London too. But my happiest times were spent in England’s Lake District (again), where the green is really green and the blue is truly blue.

After being in the Lake District this time, I felt compelled to make hiking part of my life on a more regular basis. This may sound silly, but at the time those hikes felt almost life-changing. I always chose to go on the most difficult excursions. One of the things that I learned about myself on this trip is that I like to accomplish tasks of great difficulty: the difficulty is proportionate to the feeling of accomplishment. When we reached the height that we had been aiming for, the view from that place was just so lovely. I felt as if I had earned it. Back on stable ground, everything seemed better: jokes, taking a shower, food, etc. Maybe it was just the endorphins and fresh air that made this so! And, I counldn't help but be proud of the healthy apples that had grown in my cheeks.

If this sounds good to you, maybe you should consider joining your local chapter of the Sierra Club, too. Autumn enjoys hiking as well and this fall created an outfit inspired by this pastime. She suits the season, wearing orange and brown, and I love her hat's classic style. She will stay adequately warm in corduroy culottes and comfy sweatshirt.

Lastly, I hope that you will enjoy this poem by William Wordsworth of the Lake District, capturing the excitement of exploring and hiking:

Stepping Westward

"What, you are stepping westward?"—"Yea."
—'Twould be a 'wildish' destiny,
If we, who thus together roam
In a strange Land, and far from home,
Were in this place the guests of Chance:
Yet who would stop, or fear to advance,
Though home or shelter he had none,
With such a sky to lead him on?

The dewy ground was dark and cold;
Behind, all gloomy to behold;
And stepping westward seemed to be
A kind of 'heavenly' destiny:
I liked the greeting; 'twas a sound
Of something without place or bound;
And seemed to give me spiritual right
To travel through that region bright.

The voice was soft, and she who spake
Was walking by her native lake:
The salutation had to me
The very sound of courtesy:
Its power was felt; and while my eye
Was fixed upon the glowing Sky,
The echo of the voice enwrought
A human sweetness with the thought
Of travelling through the world that lay
Before me in my endless way.


grannybabs said...

I love hiking - and would love to go to Scotland - and I love Wordsworth.

Don't ask me why I've haven't gone hiking in ages, we've not made it to Scotland yet, and why I don't read much Wordsworth - although I do quote him often - and sometimes from memory!!

Chloe said...

Wow! Scotland!

Rich said...

I will check out the Sierra Club in my area. Good idea.

rose said...

The music was so pretty, as was Autumn in her cords. Hiking in the misty moors or mountains of Scotland sounds like a adventure!!

Vash said...

Wow Scotland, I don't think I've ever been outside of the country. It looks almost similar to North Ccarolina, but I'm sure it's very very different. Love the Socks Shoes Combo (Alan!)

Anonymous said...

Nice post, Ashley! I do know what you're saying about the new perspective after being up in the heights!

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