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  • Dee Lister

January dawn on the moors


When I looked outside early in the day it was raining. Snow had fallen in velvet sheets the previous evening but this seemed to all but have disappeared. I was disappointed but considered higher ground would still be cushioned in white. The weather showed a break in the rain so I decided to venture out for sunrise.

I live near the West Pennine Moors. UK lockdown means adventures nearby on the moors are a wild enough bliss enough to satisfy my nomadic desires and call to spend time in nature daily. A friend showed me another walk recently and it was thrilling to think I could experience the beautiful vastness so easily.

I arrived an hour or so before sunrise as the tripod was staying home, not wanting to be unstable on any ice and arrived around 745am. Such a quiet time just before the sun rises in earnest, pale blues across a smiling sky.

January has nearly passed and it's possible to hear the birds more active when starting their day. It is an incomparable pleasure to be out at this time really, delighting in nature's song rather than chowing down on breakfast under artificial light.

I walked to the gate and moved along the path. Many caves of stone reached up layer-upon-layer like the rock formations I saw gliding along Silverdale beach last year. There was a storm of energy to my left as water dashed, rushed and swished along. It thundered it's way forward.

A person and their dog wandered, moving into some a British and weather-filled polite conversation.

I continued on my way and met another tree. It guarded the land like the majestic oak standing outside Holme Wood in the Forest of Bowland. This tree also faced a drama of weather and held space so human wanderers would pass with a quiet though imposing warning.

Walking on, the path soon traversed tiny streams of water and ice. Trusty borrowed walking pole in hand (thank you friend!) allowed for smooth passing. Before me revealed stories waiting to be told. A number of paths lay ahead with different opportunities. Which way to go?

I chose to walk right up the short steep incline that led to the moors. Here sheep were enjoying breakfast before moving away in a steady stream. I walked the rough track noting sunrise to the east. A strip of brightened sky was overshadowed by rain clouds.

The slow spread of gentle colours offset the grey-browns of stone and mud mingled with the dazzle of blanketed white spread across the land.

It gives me a sense of calm and I can't help wanting to sing about this to the world, perhaps with this blog providing me with the space I need to do so.

Thoughts wash through my mind like froth, unstuck, liquid. My body moved freely along the contours of the land. Less urk and ache, more flow and hush.

Here in the wilds I remember again and again how life is a blessing. Especially so when considering how many are cordoned off from nature's magic during turbulent times.

I walked a while, stood, walked some more, before coming to a stop and sitting on a grassy tuffett. Well, falling may be more accurate as feet slid a little on mud. Sat looking around me, I savoured the scene and feeling, refusing to let the chill be framed as anything be enlivening.

A flurry of large and hail-like rain began to fall with unexpected hurriedness. I decided to start the journey back and laughed as the shock of cold rain water and the swift adventuring wind confronted me.

Pushing away a habitual oh-no-ness, facing the weather in this wilderness left me feeling so alive and also grateful. I'm blessed with knowing a warm and safe house awaited me, as well as space to reflect and share a story on the awe-inspiring beauty and magic of the wilderness.

What bliss is this to be in the wilds
With wind and snow-covered grass
Ice to water on ground below
River and rivulets rushing forth from distance heights
Move and flow, move and flow, move and flow
What bliss is this to be in the wilds
With winter rain, rough tracks meet muted skies
Weaving magic in the air
With whispers of colour
Ephemeral spread
Just walk and be silent
Listen with your heart, listen
See-through layers of earth
And be one with the land
Let the animal in you call
And rest


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