Walking on the Coleridge Way – and The Last Broomsquire
Every day while writing at home I take an hour out to walk with my lurcher dog in the big hills which surround my home. On a day like this, the coombes seem to beckon. I don’t think you could really be a writer and refuse their allure.
I heard some guy on the radio today talking about the importance of walking. He’d been so depressed at one time, he’d ended up in some kind of mental hospital. Then he’d discovered walking in countryside – and it had allowed him to make a recovery so swiftly, his doctors were amazed.
Many people will understand the great salving that can be achieved by strolling through grand scenery – and I am lucky enough to the live in this glorious place where I took these pictures earlier today.
And it was while walking under the vast cold metallic blue skies this afternoon that I was mulling over some lines I wrote in The Last Broomsquire. I don’t know why. Somehow, this brief scene haunted me.
“I have this notion that your blood is older than ancient forests. I fancy that your stock was born in the first, original, place; an Eden long since lost down caverns measureless to man. Far down some sacred river. You are, as you have told me, the last of your kind and, but for some fortunate accident of time, the blood that is within you should have disappeared from Earth centuries ago. But you are here, somehow you have survived. There is something about you Johnny, something wild and different: to a modern mortal you would indeed be a demon-lover. Laversha has flashing eyes, and a great mop of floating hair. But in your own way, you have a greater essence of wildness than even he. Tis only a fancy of mine, of course, and one fuelled by laudanum, but if you do not mind, I shall keep my theory as it suits an ideal I have of things.”
The words are supposed to have been spoken by the poet Coleridge at Ash Farm high above Porlock – which is about 12 miles as the crow flies from where I live. In fact, the track you can see in the photos is the Coleridge Way – which is maybe why I was thinking about the book.