As we set off from the the car park near the Shining Shore we worked out that, roughly, we must have done this walk around seventy times now. On half a dozen or more occasions a year for the past thirteen or fourteen. But like all good walks you never walk the same one twice, and this is the best of walks. At least as much spiritual practice as it is physical exercise, we’ve always thought. Then this writing turned up, about here, in a book I’ve been reading this week, on the recommendations of two friends:

“I said to Amy that it felt like the end of the world and she said she felt the same. I feel happy-sad here, filled with nostalgia and a longing for a future I feel we will never see. If this were the last day of our lives we would come here to watch the sunset and to listen to the breathing of the earth.”

“Ghost Town, A Liverpool Shadowplay” by Jeff Young

And the breathing of the earth walked with us. Today’s walk being about mosses too, as Sarah is studying them. And we also knew it would include a sunset as we set off into the early afternoon of a late November day.

Flavoparmelia lichen

The leaves are all gone now from the long enclosure hedge that begins the walk, meaning the hedge has become even more interesting now we can see all the way into it. From ‘the boring bit’ of the walk when we first did it, the hedge has now become a highlight. Worth a visit all on its own.

Hogweed in seed
Rosehip
A ladybird in the ivy
A starry moss

Up by Thurstaston Church there’s a very good mosses wall. Sarah did this walk on her own a month or so ago and is keen to see how some of her discoveries are doing.

A grey lichen
Polypody fern and church roof

I love winter trees and spend most of our sit down in the church yard looking across at these.

Rhytidiadelphus squarrous

Out of the church yard now and into the long lane that’s the highest point of the walk.

A moss festival
Bracken dying back

Then down into the Dungeon for lunch. Though already the day is settling into its evening light.

Everyone’s in their winter coats

Now we have crossed Heswall Field and arrived here, at the Shining Shore.

Leaving the shore as the sun sets just before four, to walk along the clifftop and watch the last of the light.

Thuidium tamariscinum

No gold and tangerine sunset for us though this late November day. Instead there’s this voice of a little girl, coming up to us from the beach below:

“We’re in the middle of nowhere!”

Her words coming up while we stand on the cliff top listening to the breathing of the earth.

Thanks to Jane MacNeil and Eithne Browne for recommending Jeff Young’s gorgeous book. I recommend it too.

Today’s sample collection for further Sarah study

Published by Ronnie

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place: http://asenseofplace.com.

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