Monday, September 15, 2008

Beauty. I love it!

Wow. What a lot of news. Last kid off to college on Saturday. The same clever daughter who also passed her driving test earlier the same week. I kissed her g'bye this morning, dusted my hands off, dropped Mr. D off at the golf course with his suitcase and a plane ticket, and then I hopped into my car for a hell-bent-for-leather ride from Edinburgh to Leicester.

It's not a straight shot, but no road trip ever is on this lovely green isle.

I tore cross-country from Edinburgh toward Lanark, eventually joined the A74 to Carlisle, and enjoyed the scenery from then on.

Every time I think I've seen it all, and that I'm bored with it all, and that no one has anything new to show me... well then I go round some corner and my eyes pop wide open all over again. You know how you see those old etchings of Scottish landscapes, with wide flat shimmering rivers curving away across meadowed valleys?

You think, "Ach, whatever! Just another old trite aquatint. Bo-ring....."

But then you come round a curve in your smart little red Peugeot (still missing a hubcap) and there it is, that very river, and you know it's just stuffed full of salmon, because there's that stereotypical fisherman standing at the bend of the river in his waders, with the water riffling past him in those shallows.

Man, what could be more beautiful?

Maybe the Lake District?

Velvety green fields and huge, tall, round-topped velour hills, with every shepherd's plot crossed and crossed again by hand-built gray stone walls. The fields seem designed to slope up and away from you, as if God had shaped the land so that as you sped by, you could count each and every sheep or cow dotted across the landscape.

Don't mind me. I do take pictures while I'm driving. I'm sure it's against the law, but they haven't legislated it yet, so bear with me.

But the last moment of beauty.... Well!

I hope you're sitting down.

My friend Annette has informed me that this landscape icon was a true thing of beauty in its time... the place to be, and be seen. And indeed, it still cuts an arresting silhouette as you fly by on the M74 past Morecambe and Lancaster.

But hold your breath, now, because you are about to see and experience a 60's/70's moment...

Tell me it's not the most gorgeous thing you've ever seen.

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