Wednesday night I fell asleep in front of the TV until 02.30 so on Thursday morning I groped and blinked my way downstairs even more befuddled and foggy-brained than usual.
When we moved to this house from Cardiff we decided that the three things on which we would not compromise were the size of the garden (we wanted a large one), the aspect (we wanted it to face roughly south), and the view (we wanted one). The house met all three criteria, the ¼ acre garden sloping southeast down to the Monmoushire and Brecon Canal, a 30 mile-long moat between the first ridge of the Welsh mountains and the rolling hills of the Vale of Usk.
Open the curtains first thing in the morning and the view is across to the green 150 metre-high ridge on the other side of the valley, at this time of the year with the sun just appearing over the crest. But not today. The mist which filled the valley was even thicker than that in my head. The trees, leafless now except for the Douglas Fir which I planted 30 years ago and which now tops the native ash, alder and sycamore, were just visible at the end of the garden but the world beyond had disappeared.
It was eerie but more than that it was mildly disturbing. I don’t suffer from claustrophobia at all, the tighter the cave passage the more I enjoy it, but the mist gave a sense of being hemmed in. Isolated. Marooned.
Some time ago I read that to be truly happy one must be content with simply ‘being’. I’m not. I have a permanently ‘questing’ mentality, always wanting to explore further, find new things and places. I suppose it comes from having a basically dissatisfied mind. I remember Captain James T Kirk explaining to the leader of a group of aliens on a Planet of Perfection where every wish could be met, that the mission of the Starship Enterprise was to ‘boldly go’ and that those who manned it were hard-wired to keep exploring. Sitting having breakfast looking across the valley each morning gives a sense of there being something beyond, somewhere else to go, something else to do. I hadn’t realised that until this morning when suddenly it was gone, the world ended at the trees along the canal bank. It was unnerving.
I caught a bus to Cwmbran to buy a new pair of walking shoes. And to escape.