across the hills to the lakes

It has been a trying few weeks, and to get through the January blues, Ness and I started idly dreaming of what we would do on a weekend away. So when we had the opportunity to make it a reality, we packed our bags, and Mark, Ness and I crossed the hills of the north of England to the Lake District.

We arrived to the beautiful flat where we stayed in the evening, and whilst we enjoyed cooking tea and watching telly, we had no idea what a treat we were in for the next morning. I was knackered from a week of running a half-term club, and I missed Ness trying to wake me for the sunrise. By the time I woke up, she was playing her guitar in the golden light of the early morning sun spilling across the mountains and onto the carpet.

Nature is healing. I’ve read about it several times over the past year, from John Eldredge’s book “Get Your Life Back” to the Bible to numerous Instagram and blog posts from people that I follow. But even with my life of running through the countryside and sloshing through the mud by the River Ouse on a walk home from town, I forget how nature pulls out of us the healing and peace and deep sighs that very few other things do.

We sat in beautiful chairs in front of the windows, drinking in the sight of sunshine and mountains, all morning. Light is constantly changing, and clouds drifted in and out, and Ness played her guitar, and Mark and I tried to read but kept pausing to make sure that the mountains were still there.

They were. They haven’t moved for millennia; I doubt that they’ll start for us.

I eventually pulled myself away to experience the mountains for myself, and after a brief sit in the sunshine, I found my way through the forest, down to the lake. It reminded me of walks I used to take as a child. I always felt God so close on those rambles through the woods, even if I didn’t have the language to describe it well at the time. And I felt Him close again, exploring the woods with me as I touched pine needles and pine cones, enjoyed the squish of my walking boots in the mud, marvelled at lightning ravished trees.

In the afternoon, we explored Keswick (a place I’ve wanted to visit for years!) and Derwentwater. We ate ice creams by the lake and I pet over twenty dogs. The recent rain meant that the water was high, leaving docks submerged, by the sun poured out from behind the mountains, and I sat on the rocks at the edge of the water and tried to hold my own against the wind.

Sunday morning I managed to catch the sunrise, a riot of pink and purple and ever-changing clouds. As birds took flight by the trees, the view perfectly matched the tattoo on my ribs, and I knew that God is in the details. He knows the beauty that translates perfectly to language of our souls, and on Sunday morning, that mountain view sang it perfectly to me.

Then we explored the lake closest the house and packed it all up to make our slow way home to York (via a pub lunch with the biggest slab of gammon I’ve ever attempted to eat and a stop to see Ness’s family), and we found ourselves back in our much-loved city. But as much as I love York, I do miss the soul-filling views of mountains and scent of pine trees on the wind.

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