The Permanence of Things

BAck Tor - albert hugh robinson - 1980Back Tor ©Albert Hugh Robinson

The new year arrived and, as always, change was expected. New ambitions, new resolve, new optimism. But last year was only a week ago and today seems very similar to 2017. The idea of change was a restorative one at least, even if it only lasted until the NYE hangover wore off!

I’m always struck with the absence of change here in the valley. Coming from London where you can go away for a week and come back to a new supermarket three doors down, it seems strange that the views I see here day in day out have been the same for decades: the landscape is an ever-fixed mark, while National Park planning restrictions have kept man-made change in check.

This photo shows a walker enjoying the view across the valley from Back Tor. It was taken forty years ago, but it could have been yesterday. Yes, the path may be a little better trodden these days, but everything else is timeless.  The wealth of photographs kept by the village historical society are the same. Changing faces, fashions and technology framed by a landscape that resolutely refuses to alter.

In our valley bubble, the absence of change in the hills can be reassuring and unnerving in equal measure – an oasis of permanence while the world outside changes minute by minute, news headline by news headline.