Our quest continues. Today, it was Wicken Fen, which wasn’t as far away as I originally thought. I have no idea why I thought it was way up in the county, but it isn’t. So, given Cassandra is away, I took the non-strop-and-stomp-teenage contingent of my brood there. And took some pictures, bien sur.

Wicken Fen is huge. We wandered around for about two hours, and saw (according to the map) perhaps a fifth of it. Given that the temperature was -4°C when I took Cassandra to the airport, it didn’t feel much warmer while we trudged around. Because of this, wee Lottie-A decided that maybe seeing the whole area in one day might not work.

It was muddy, it was icy, it was expansive. There were high hedges, which hid the landscape beyond, so when you get to the turn in the path, you are confronted with the big, big sky, and the landscape which continues in its relentless flatness beyond your peripheral vision, dressed in this season’s burnt offering.

It was flat, it was quiet, it was superb. There are some who don’t appreciate the gorgeous enviorn I have found myself. Too flat, they say. Too dull. How can they be so blind? Even at this point in the year, we saw birds of prey, hovering, diving, dancing in the cold autumn air. We followed the channels cut into the fens, stomped and squelched along listening to the wind chatter and the trees respond. Every thing is there if you just open your eyes to see.

It was austere, it was cold, it was beautiful. What is there to life, what more can there be, than being out in the world, but not part of it, teaching and being taught, watching and listening, with your children? I hope to leave my children with the notion that there is a world outside, and you don’t need gadgets or screens or status or respect or validation to enjoy it. Perhaps what I miss most from the ‘oul sod is the fishing. Sitting for hours by the river with my lot, fishing. But over here we have a different outdoors, one which I now have in my soul.

Look up. Look down. Look around. There is more, so much more, than what goes on in your head. Even in this weather, there is much to see. Even at this time of year, there is much to do. Even with all else that goes on, there is no excuse.

It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy… Let’s go exploring!

In all this peace, we hold prayers and thoughts for James, Cassandra’s great-uncle, whose wife Pam died last night.

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