Sometimes being alone can feel like a reward for good behaviour, a chance to catch up with yourself and just wander (and wonder) at will.
I love the sensation of standing on top of a hill, breathing in the calm view and relishing the serenity, undisturbed by human activity. Disappearing into a deciduous wood can feel equally good. Some people associate wandering alone in dimly lit woods with something more akin to a Blair Witch Project horror. I see them more as friendly and welcoming, attracting me to look at each tree.
This morning as I set off, the soft mist felt wet and not particularly enticing. It seemed to cushion sound, making the woods feel sightly alien and deserted.
Within minutes that feeling changed as I slowed down and trod more carefully, looking out for mushrooms, not to pick so much as marvel at their form. Leaves and sticks crunched satisfying under my feet, the dogs' more regular pitter patter of furry feet falling softly on the wet ground. When you're alone in the woods on a misty day, sound is curiously muffled and accentuated at the same time. It's as if the silence is a more deliberate backdrop, with each individual sound picked out and emphasised so every falling leaf can be heard as it lands.
Every now and then there's something that grabs my attention: the gorgeous green moss on a pile of sticks, the flap of a pheasant's wings as it desperately tries to remember how to fly again. I like to travel around the Dales and see its different colours and sights but sometimes standing in one spot, just looking and listening can be equally rewarding.