Endless, sloping hills dot the horizon. Like comfy looking, rounded cushions, they seem content within their place in nature’s kingdom. Barely visible beyond its summit, the sun’s dying rays illuminate the bank in a heavenly , rust coloured glow. The meadow blows softly with the wind. Barrels of hay are littered far and wide among grassy fields. They lie there, so inert that it is easy to forget that they were crafted by the rough, course hands of human beings and not the long reaching arms of the wilderness. A herd of sheep graze on the olive green pasture, wholly indifferent to the roar of passing cars, screeching of horns and all other manner of automobile surging through their natural oasis. This is the English countryside. It is a picture of simplicity and candour, a sight that is as exquisite as it is primal, both intimate and yet impenetrable at the same time.
Part of me begins to think it cruel that I must observe such a delightful scene behind a thick pane of glass. It is with some considerable effort that I tear my gaze away from its splendour. Yet perhaps it is for the best; dusk is fast approaching and I am more than aware of just how wretched this time of day could make me feel. While I adored the scenery surrounding me, I could only gaze at it to a certain point. I knew that as soon as the sun withdrew itself from the world, and blotches of mauve, scarlet and black begin to taint the clouds not dissimilar to the way in which leprosy eats away its victim’s skin, this feeling of euphoria would fade within the space of a moment.
Yet part of me cannot help but find these journeys to be of some therapeutic value. Perhaps it is because it is one of those rare occasions where I do not have to actively do anything. Nor am I expected to. Of course I could soak up the rich contents of a novel or fall asleep to the soft sound of music, but these are less a requirement than they are vaguely engaging pastimes. Perhaps however, it is less the act of being than it is the act of travelling itself. After all, we become very accustomed to our everyday surroundings in our day to day existence. We wake up to the same, yet mundane sight of those same four walls. We take that same, awfully congested train to our respective workplaces. We see the same, worn faces that line the parameters of our peripheral vision. We then go home and then we repeat the same thing the very next day.
Perhaps then, to be able to go on a journey that goes beyond these parameters, especially one that affords views so aesthetically beautiful, is nothing short of a breath of fresh air . Moreover, it is a reminder that there are whole regions of places that have not yet been charted by our own footsteps, and subsequently, our own consciousness. Whether that be some natural wonder of a far flung land, or even just a stroll down a pleasant, cobbled road tucked away somewhere not too far from home, a change in environment is sometimes all that is needed disentangle ourselves from depression’s tumultuous throes; or at least, to loosen its vice like grip for a while. I suppose what I am trying to say is while the safe and familiar can afford us with some measure of comfort , it can also be the slow, suffocating death of happiness . So instead, just once in a while, take a chance, and go somewhere different. Somewhere brand new. There is never a better time than the present to appreciate that the world is so much bigger and so much stranger than that same old, slate-grey pavement whose cracked tiles we have trodden over for far too long a time…
Emotional support helplines:
Samaritans :116 123
Rethink Mental Illness advice line 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday 09:30-16:00; local rate)
Sane Line:0845 767 8000
Mind also has a useful guide of support and services, which can be found by clicking the link right here