A couple of weeks ago I visited Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, and I enjoyed my tour of the house. But I wanted to hike around and explore the countryside. I asked a house employee if that were permitted. He said, yes, but then apologized for the overcast weather. I didn't mind, though, because the gray skies punctuated the gorgeous green hills, as there was no bright blue sky with which to compete.
The day had a Brigadoon quality about it; cold and drizzling, with fog lacing around the hills and in and out of trees. For an hour or so, I kept walking farther and farther away from the house, surrendering myself more and more to my surroundings and finally finding some quiet in my head. After awhile I turned around to survey my progress. I saw what appeared to be an almost endless expanse of trees and meadows that rolled across the hills to the top of the horizon. William Faulkner often wrote about "the power of the land," and at that moment, the power was apparent.