A stilled horizon, a captured scene, glows inside my hand-held screen, edited to perfection.
The photo oozes contentment. Its rolling hills and endless blue are scentless, silent, still, a moment trapped behind glass, without the joyous bite of life.
And so I walk the flanks of Winter Hill, my gaze sweeping the southern horizon from Harrock Hill to the Lancashire plain. Distance draws lines of greyness where land gives way to the sheen of sea.
Two Lads Hill crouches beneath its mottled cover of bilberry and heather. This gritstone outpost catches wind that sends cloud shadows scudding, multiplying hues. It sets cotton grass bobbing and fills the tangle of my hair.
A skylark’s frantic love song draws me up to unattainable height. My dazzled eyes drop from the sky, settling on familiar territory, the crenelated top of Rivington Pike. Silhouettes of cyclists against the skyline shift swiftly, smoothly, descending into invisibility below the horizon.
I am like the hub of a wheel, turning my gaze, noticing shafts of light bearing down on Salford’s shiny blocks where lockdown stillness reigns.
Returning home windswept, chilled, invigorated, I download my photographs. I have caught static scenes behind the screen to see again and again. These are moments remembered, unique, unrepeatable. True fullness sensed only once.