Thoroughly Alive

We must hunger after the beautiful and the good...


Hilltop Farm

I've decided to be a roam-the hills, have a cottage, wild-eyed writer woman for the rest of my life. Beatrix Potter decided me. I visited her farm at Hilltop today. My so very dear friend Katrina came all the way to England to see me and we are in the Lake District for three whirlwind days of vacation. The usual bus to Beatrix Potter's house is down for the winter, so despite the raised eyebrows of the locals, we took the ferry and walked the rest of the way. (Just figured out that was nine miles total.)

And ah, the tromp through fields just breathing to green and starred with daffodils, and the air like pearl gray water, and the low stone walls and trees like kindly giants, and cottages that have settled themselves and their people deep into the earth... this I love. And I love it that Beatrix Potter wrested her self and soul away from the bustle of London society and came out here to write, to imagine, to make stories that brought the full freshness of her world here.

The other joys? The sight of five rabbits frolicking on a hillside, one of them the rebel of the family with a jet-black coat. They chased each other in circles and then flopped on their bellies in the sun.

A picnic on a stone wall. Cheese, hummus, snap peas, grapes, all crunched the baaing of stubborn sheep.

Tea at a stone cottage, where two dogs, a black and golden lab, lolopped in and set finely featured little heads on our knees and looked as if they would weep if we didn't pet them.

A lakeland church, lonely and still amidst the swell of hills and tiny villages, and the wander we took through the graves, and daffodils.

A friendship so long and tried and settled and sweet and true that we share the same tastes and like the same music and have the same ideas and laugh at the same moment, and know exactly the things that the other will forget. We met when we were 9 and 11. 500 letters and 16 years later, we're like sisters.

Sticky toffee pudding as the prize of a two-mile upward hike in the dark.

Josh Garrells as we search out castles to visit on Thursday.

Sleep. Under an old fashioned down comforter.



Sarah Clarkson9 Comments