a walk through texts

"Last summer I was out alone, "hiking" myself, in the Northumberland hills, on the moors above Chesters, near Tower Ty. I had left the road and struck across country in the grey keen air, and among the boulders and bright wet grass, the drip of water running underground and the debris of the wall, with innumerable curlews for company, I caught myself glancing back over my shoulder, as if something which I had hardly ever noticed in myself was awake at some touch, and telling a different part of me to look out. There was everything to see and nothing much to look out for, until I remembered that I was on the Picts' side of the wall, in the wolf-country and the country of little men who had much to fear from wolves. And I knew that until I had brought it to light, I had been living in the fear of a past age. Wolves spring at your shoulder, break it, and pull you down from behind. I was alone with wolf-memories and shapes. A little further on, a tall weathered countryman appeared from nowhere. We said good day pleasantly, and he looked hard at me, and in his eyes there was an extraordinary reassurance. I went on over a long bony ledge."

Mary Butts, "Warning to Hikers," Ashe of Rings and Other Writings, NY: McPherson & Company, 1998, 285-6.