It wasn’t only the view and vista that intrigued me on the trek up to Whernside, in the Yorkshire Dales.
It was also the conversations from fellow walkers. Along the eight miles walked that day, I tagged onto words that came and went with the transient crowd. The chatter was ragged at both ends, with the odd phrase overheard on passing, teasing me with truncated sentences:
“My body stopped responding, so I changed my trainers.”
“Did you know that a pint of lager there is eight Euros?”
“Who’d want to have sex for more than half an hour?”
“ They could do with a strimmer up here..”
“The chafing is getting worse.”
“I had to dig half my cuttings out.”
“I ended up asking him to stay over...”
With my mind working overtime to jigsaw these netted sentences into what might have been,
I sat and took in the view and wondered what the mountainside might look like if all the trillions of words spoken here over time were articulated like snowflakes or flowers layering up along the bluff.
Or, for that matter, what appearance would these cast away words have if they were caught in Medusa’s gaze and articulated in stone?
Down in the Dale - where the laithes lie coddled by gritstone quoins and huddled by drystone walls - I got the answer to my question.
The phonetics of the farmstead were laid bare for all to see:
a poetic revelation, a language all of its own, spoken in rhythmic stone; a prose within the raking walls - each course a sentence, each rock a letter, tugged up from the earth and mouthed by hand.
Out in the fields, grappling with gravity, the abandoned barns on millpond days are quiet as a prayer, but in stormy times, through their nooks and crannies, become fricative -begging answers from passers by with a cooing of “who” and “why?”
To the north, as far as the eye can see, there’s a polyphony of hill and home, but to the south, within a mile of the mountain there is a change in accent with the tumbled dialect of vernacular rooftops pitched up against the clipped consonants of the snaking viaduct.
is an architectural and interiors photographer based in the UK.
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Link to: Words Are Not Enough
A photo story about Ingleborough
Link to: Dwelling
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