Posted: Tuesday 2nd June 2015 by 30DaysWild2015

Saplings blowing in the windSaplings blowing in the wind

The weather forecast suggests a change of plan and a windy walk brings thoughts of our place in history and the natural world.

Wind!

After yesterday’s celebrations I had a couple of ideas for today’s blog but a quick check of the weather forecast suggested that with wind speeds predicted to be over 40 mph a walk in the woods would probably not be a good idea. So I suppose the topic for today’s ‘random act of wildness’ really suggested itself, how can you ignore the chance for a good walk in the wind?

The way the media report the weather always seems very prejudiced to me: cold, wind, rain are bad and to be endured; hot, calm, dry are good and to be celebrated. It seems to me that one of the enjoyable characteristics of Britain’s climate is its variability and contrasts, at the very least it gives us something to talk about!

Worcestershire - Staffordshire boundary bank

Avoiding woodlands and wanting a walk led me to set out for the local heathland. The wind was very gusty, it was possible to hear the gusts approaching long before they actually struck. There is no doubt that a good high wind, like a high sea, really reminds me of how little control we have over the natural world and puts human endeavours and achievements into perspective. Relaxing and accepting it makes me feel part of the natural world.

Having walked across what once once believed to be the Iron Age fort and whichnow is thought to have Bronze Age foundations I found myself walking southwards along the western edge of the heathland, along the ridge that gives views into Shropshire and at its southern end meets the ancient boundary bank dividing Staffordshire from Worcestershire. Apparently this boundary was a significant divide in it’s time and marked a definite change in language and culture. 

A view into Shropshire

The elemental feel of walking in the wind, hearing it blow and rock the trees on the top of the ridge and looking out towards Shropshire made me think of the first lines of Housman’s poem: A Shropshire Lad. Pondering on 1000’s of years of previous occupants of the heathland reminded me that there is more to the poem than the first verse. I’ve come home and reminded myself of the rest of the verse: it seems very apt.


On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble;
      His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves;
The gale, it plies the saplings double,
      And thick on Severn snow the leaves.

'Twould blow like this through holt and hanger
      When Uricon the city stood:'Tis the old wind in the old anger,
      But then it threshed another wood.

Then, 'twas before my time, the Roman
      At yonder heaving hill would stare:
The blood that warms an English yeoman,
      The thoughts that hurt him, they were there.

There, like the wind through woods in riot,
      Through him the gale of life blew high;The tree of man was never quiet:
      Then 'twas the Roman, now 'tis I.

The gale, it plies the saplings double,
      It blows so hard, 'twill soon be gone:
To-day the Roman and his trouble
      Are ashes under Uricon.

 

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