This morning I am in Ambleside looking out my upstairs bedroom window at lush green hills, flower gardens filled with purple butterfly bushes, and white stucco homes, while listening to the the gurgle of a brook that runs through the grounds of this holiday rental. Ambleside is a large, quaint village next to Lake Windermere in the much lauded Lake District of Cumbria—the home and inspiration of poets and writers, particularly Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and Lord Byron, not to mention children’s writer Beatrice Potter. It is early morning and this town, swollen by a summer influx of visitors, is cool, quiet, misty, and abandoned for a few hours. It is an ethereal world, jarringly punctuated now and then by what appears to be fighter jets, a reminder of our all too human existence. I am always cognizant, sadly, of the world’s contradictions.
Years ago, my family and I came to the Lake District, falling in love at first sight. I bought a book titled Dorothy Wordsworth’s Lakeland Journals and read all the entries remaining of the diaries she had kept while living with her brother William in Grassmere, a few miles from Ambleside. Brother and sister often took extended walks throughout the area. On a Tuesday morning in May of 1800, she wrote: “A fine mild rain. After breakfast the sky cleared and before the clouds passed from the hills I went to Ambleside. It was a sweet morning. Everything green and overflowing with life, the streams making a perpetual song, with the thrushes and all little birds, not forgetting the stonechats…”. She could have written the same of this July morning.
I leave you with a quote by Beatrice Potter. ” Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself and never mind the rest.” I must go now and discover a stonechat.