The Celts, who knew and loved natural beauty, sang of a land of breath-taking loveliness where souls go after they have left the mortal body. A land where everything is fair, and there is no unhappiness, and no-one ever grows old. Only the dead may see it, but it is just possible – just possible – for it to be seen by some mortals. Perhaps some spirit may lead them there. And provided they are content to gaze and take nothing from it, they can return to mortality, to try to tell what is beyond all telling.
Go up into the fells early on a fine autumn morning and you can be one of the fortunates. Climb above the grey mists and onto the sunlit slopes and look down. The mist now lies like a great golden sea. Then wait. The veil dissolves and the colours begin to filter through. Then at some mysterious bidding, the mists clear; and it is there below you, the radiant steeps tumbling down to the incandescent plain and the shining levels of water. . . . . So beautiful that the mortal eye cannot take it all in. So beautiful that the greatest poet that ever lived could never capture one fragment of it. It would flow away through the gaps and holes and mesh of mere words like water through a net.
Stay and look. Be still. Let there be no conversation. No sound to spoil the muted music which you will surely hear. Let there be no selfish thought. No thought of yesterday or tomorrow, or the last instant or the next. Live in this moment. Rest easy in it. For you will be the fortunate; glimpsing immortality.
John Wyatt – The Shining Levels
A pre-dawn start, two hour drive, and a short steep early morning hike through grey mist. But all worth it to get this view from the top of Loughrigg Fell near Grasmere.