Anything I write or do now seems trivial and trite compared to what's been on my radar the last half of this year. I've almost forgotten how I used to write about beautiful things, but here we go...
In my sporadic grumps I'd been imagining spending the entirety of the Christmas period in a tent, far away from any kind of frivolity or need for explanation. Nearing the end of December it wasn't traditionally appealing weather for camping, but we bumbled down to Dartmoor to find a little wilderness. It had been a while since Burt* had been on an adventure that wasn't purely practical and the sound of him dragging our "new" bell tent up the hills reminded us why we need to buy a less rusty exhaust pipe.
*There was only so long we could refer it as the carpet van. His name is derived from his facial expression and burbling engine noises.
We arrived just as the mist was settling over the moors. Wide, flat and spongy, but not soggy enough to drench our boots, it seemed like this spot had been crafted especially for the gigantic tent we were testing out. We feasted and drank two euro wine, left over from Calais, until it was too dark to see each-others faces and then shrunk into our sleeping bags.
I woke up to half the tent illuminated. Hoping for a sunrise, I crept to the doorway and stepped out onto the crunch of frost. Earlier than I thought, the moon was dazzling and everything was glittering in a spiky crystal coating. I slept again until it was actually morning.
Creeping out to sunrise over the silent white moorland, I remembered for the first time that Winter isn't always the worst time of year...
Shortly the sun began to thaw the landscape and we were reminded of the colours underneath the ice. When the sky is grey, Dartmoor can feel like the most desolate place in England, but that was difficult to imagine on a morning like this one.
We waiting a couple of hours for our tent to defrost before taking it (and Burt) back to Exeter for a more sociable Christmas to come. Sometimes all it takes is a little wilderness to decompress and be ready to face the rest of the World.