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Ostomy Memories of Wilderness


IN SOUTHERN UTAH, I LIVED just twenty-two minutes from the east entrance into Zion National Park.  I went there often, but always sought to find out-of-the-way places, away from the tourists.  Like all the national parks across the country, the overcrowding has essentially turned them into a sort of commercialized wilderness, which is not wilderness at all.  I was a tourist myself when I visited Yosemite, but it was literally crawling with humanity, people from all over the world.  It ruined the experience for me.  I suppose that I'm a sort of outdoor Greta Garbo.  When I go for a hike, I want to be alone.  It is a contemplative time for me, an opportunity to gather my resources and reconnect with the natural world.  I want to be able to sit beside a large rock and admire the scenery without having to hear “Hey Mary, look at this!”  It was my great good fortune to live beside the vast, empty Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (photo).  I didn't have to worry about tourists there, just running into a rattlesnake or running out of water.  “May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view,” wrote Ed Abbey.  I'll second that.  

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Hello HenryM.
I can certainly appreciate your sentiments about finding places to walk in solitude, away from other humans and in those places with stunning scenery.

My own preference is for it to be not too hot, green and pleasant, with an abundance of wildlife. What I have found is ideal, within walking distance of my own home is an abundance of chalk streams, which are shallow enough to walk in (with waders)and offer all the pleasantries I have listed above. I can honestly say that, over many years, I have never met any other people on my river-walks, and most the wildlife don't seem to be disturbed by my presence. The whole experience gives me a different and pleasant perspective on life. When I am not walking the riverbed, I will spend hours working to ‘improve' that environment in one way or another, so that when I embark on a walk I am less likely to encounter those irritating reminders of humans and their discarded  garbage.

I was going to post a rhyme entitled ‘Human filth', but feel that such a concept might spoil an otherwise aesthetically pleasing sentiment. Hence, I will choose one that tries to capture one of my walks around ‘the ring of springs', which surround my own living environment..

Best wishes


( unique circle and a walk—on sand and gravel, clay and chalk)

The ‘Purwell' name emerges from 
The valley and the springs thereon.
It  flows right to the Eastern coast.
But of its start I wish to boast. 

Transport me back ten thousand years
Before the hoards of man appeared.
And In my mind I visualise.
This place before it's vandalised.

There is a story here to tell.
About a huge artesian well.
Formed from  glacial melt by chance.
One would not notice at first glance.

I've been and seen and so I've known.
Each spring has beauty of  its own.
Just  one of nature's wondrous things.
This unique ring of Purwell springs.

Along the Roman Icknield Way.
The first spring's from a soil of clay.
A source of drink as you can tell.
The place they came to call Cad-well. 

It's good to start my journey here.
With man's buildings nowhere near.
A spring that still looks wild and free.
That brings its own tranquillity.

Norton Common and Norton Spring.
Are just outside the Purwell Ring.
They join the ‘Ivel' way downstream. 
Thus not within the Purwell  theme.

Much further to the East beyond. 
There is a spring at Willian pond.
One more in this vicinity.
Is on the way to Wymondley.

Willian Pond is so well known. 
On all the maps it's clearly shown.
The one close by's another thing.
A small, elusive little spring.

Within the next wood on your right.
Spring's in a lake just out of sight.
It sits in someone's garden now.
But can be viewed if you know how. 

I'm not so sure you really should.
But you can see it from the wood.
Or you can walk the other side.
Because from there it does not hide.

Midway between each Wymondley.
On land right near the Priory.
Stands at the start as I recall.
Here springs the furthest spring of all.

Wonderful setting, beautiful scene.
Such pity that it's rarely seen.
Is it that people do not care?
They treat it like it's just not there. 

I don't wish to tell you fibs.
About the pond down at St. Ibbs.
The way the land and water lays.
The stream it seems to flow ‘two' ways.

If you look close, I'm sure you can.
Perceive the sluice in bridge-cum-dam.
So when the water overflows.
Towards the Hiz I think it flows. 

Westerly springs are wider spread.
The next one's found at the Wellhead.
This river flows through Hitchin Town.
To meet the main-stream further down.

Well worth the wander on this stretch.
Take camera, paints or pencil sketch.
At times the stream just disappears.
Keep going - ‘till it reappears.

Not to be missed it must be said.
Are two springs down on Oughton Head.
Bear to the right along the lane.
Where spring has sprung its aqua vein.

Whilst walking through this beauty spot.
Take time to think of what we've got.
Along this stream's a worthwhile walk.
For water flows from wall and chalk.

'Snailswell' seems a descriptive name.
A place from whence the waters came.
A few small springs can last be seen.
Around about in Lower Green.

North West Purwell are springs galore.
Round Holwell there are many more. 
Small and charming, neat and posh.
Wending their way to Ouse and Wash.

This trip around the ring of springs.
Was meant to highlight many things.
The ancient history of this place.
Its charm and beauty to embrace.

The ring of springs can demonstrate.
How rain and water can filtrate.
Via different layers in the ground.
Until through force of springs is found. 

PURWELL SPRINGS is an apt name.
To illustrate this claim to fame.
So I suggest that from now on.
We use this name sine qua non.

                                      B. Withers 2008 
                      (In: ‘Contemplation' 2010)


For me it is - give me a day where the manatees play 😎  my happy place.

Reply to Justbreathe

I was manatee watching just a couple of months ago at Wakulla Springs State Park.  They don't have to worry about speeding power boats there like they do in the Caloosahatchee River.  

Reply to HenryM

The one in the picture was in Key Largo - they would come to our dock for a fresh drink of water from the garden hose❤️

Reply to Justbreathe

Let's say a friend wanted to go hang out in the water with the manatees how would they react? ;)

Reply to crappycolondiaries

You can swim with manatees at Crystal River Nat'l Wildlife Refuge in Florida.  

Reply to HenryM

Would looooooove that!

Reply to crappycolondiaries

Who - the manatee or the friend ? 😜. I don't know  never did go swimming with them - they were very mellow when they came into our canal but not sure if they would stick around if you jumped in the water with them.

Reply to Justbreathe

We all know the friend is me lol. Would I have to be calm? Swimming with dolphins I was allowed to be excited but manatees seem much more chill. 

Reply to Justbreathe

I want to go!!!!

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