England Pt 2: The Countryside

Thursday, we set off into the countryside. Our host, Mike, led the way out of Westerham, up through alleyways that transformed into pastures and then woods. We ducked under trees, sloshed through mud puddles, and climbed a handful of fences. Our landscape ebbed and flowed like a song between thick woods to open forest floors, to endless green fields and knolls to cow country and wide estates. It was a six-mile hike, and the guys were worn to the bone by the end. But near the end, as we crested our last great hill, the company set me on the ground and left me alone for some time of reflection. You see, I've never been out in the country that far, let alone with such a view, and I've always wanted to get there and be alone. So my friends gave that to me. And my imagination came to life. I could see for miles, and every detail reached my depths as I thought of the men who had walked these hills and dales for ages before me. They'd be inspired; they'd found certainty; they'd fallen in love. Hearts and minds were shaped in these skies and under them on the ground. I'd always heard the phrase "God's green country," in reference to England, and as I sat there in the grass, looking out over the hamlet and the hills beyond, I understood fully the monicker.