Wisdom is a treasure hunt. It’s always within one’s potential to attain and grow, but never easy to find. We are born with vague instructions engraved on our soul, the outlines of dreams, desires, and despairs. And yet we are given no map, only the promise of heaven and a helping hand to guide.
Yesterday, when time ceased to exist, it was easier to imagine a world disappeared with the passing of time. Today, closer to the ground, a modern fence surrounding a little pool at the top of a brook, it is harder to imagine. And yet, we have our instructions. Engraved not on our hearts, like our aspirations and passions, but instead engraved in history, immortalized by Wordsworth’s love of beauty.
“If from the public way you turn your steps
up the tumultuous brook of Greenhead Ghyll
You will suppose that with an upright path
your feet must truggle; in such bold ascent
the pastoral mountains front you, face to face But courage! for around that boisterous brook
The mountains have all opened out themselves
and made a hidden valley of their own.”
The group dispersed in search of the immortal spot, ruined by time or turmoil. I fall behind, and walk alone. How pleasant it is, to walk surrounded by nothing save nature, and yet with friends within short call. Thick ferns cover the landscape from valley to peak, purple foxgloves stand erect, ruler of these parts. My soul refreshed, my spirit renewed, and yet my feet tread loudly across grass. Along the brook, however, my footsteps quiet. Don’t tarry too long or the bog may claim you, traveling with your shoe, or keeping for itself. The rocks are slippery, shiny water covered. The brook, crisper and cooler than the air beckons, Come, soak your tired feet. Rest here. But knowledge is to be had. Beauty is to be seen. A relic of the slow passing of time awaits up the brook. Wordsworth tells me so.
”No habitation can be seen; but they
Who journey thither find themselves alone
With a few sheep, with rocks and stones, and kites
That overhead are sailing in the sky.
It is in truth an utter solitude;
Nor should I have made mention of this Dell
But for one object which you might pass by,
Might see and notice not.”
And there it is, a ruin of stone. Rock upon rock piled waist high, four walls, four corners, one wall fallen, one wall standing tall. The passing of time has been here, prosperity and joy perhaps as well. But prosperity and joy are often short lived, in comparison to the hardship of life. War and desolation this place as also seen, war of the body and of the soul, as well as desolation of the spirit.
“…It was the first
Of those domestic tales that spake to me Of shepherds, dwellers in the valleys, men
Whom I already loved ; — not verily
For their own sakes, but for the fields and hills
Where was their occupation and abode.”