My last month’s tour to Egdon was really a memorable one. Egdon, popularly known as “Egdon Heath” is at the Wessex Countryside in England. Yes, it is a heath-land and quite desolate one. Most of the time the weather is windy and it is said about the place that "storm is its lover and wind its friend". If I try to define my perception of the place in one word ‘sombre’ would be the right definition.
The question is why on earth one would choose this rough, dark place over so many other bright options. In my case it was neither a natural choice nor an accidental one. One day I was just casually reading a description about the place and the description aroused my curiosity with its every next paragraph to a level that I couldn’t help but choose it.
I’m sharing here some lines from the description:
“The face of the heath by its mere complexion added half an hour to evening. It could in like manner retard the dawn, sadden noon, anticipate the frowning of storms scarcely generated, and intensify the opacity of a moonless midnight to a cause of shaking and dread.”
With these words I first felt the excellence of the writing and took it as the personal feeling of the author.
But the following lines made me curious to know more:
“It could best be felt when it could not clearly be seen, its complete effect and explanation lying in this and the succeeding hours before the next dawn. Then, and only then, did it tell its true tale”
I am a lover of night and when these words led me believe that a place could express itself the best at night I felt an urge to listen to its true tale.
I decided to spend at least 7 days there because I wanted to feel the essence of the place and for that I wanted to befriend with the people there. Now I really appreciate my then-taken-decision of befriending with the locals. I was really fortunate that I got the perfect person as my guide. Actually the word ‘guide’ would belittle her worth, she is the soul friend. Eustacia Vye is her name. Whenever I think of her I feel our soul are made of same material.
She has a weird habit of wandering around the heath at night. This habit makes people assume some weird things about her...Susan (a local woman) even started thinking that Eustacia is a witch. Whatever, because of her only I got the chance of witnessing Egdon at night. At night Egdon is not just place it is a living being and the most mysterious one. Now when I ponder about the experience the description that I’ve read before the journey seems all true.
While Eustacia helped me to see Egdon at night, some other friends like Clym, Thomasin, Mrs. Yeobright guided me during the day. If by any chance I haven’t loved Egdon that much atleast I would have the memory of these people who would save me from regretting the journey.
Do you also want to visit this European countryside? Simple go to Flipkart or Amazon or any other site that you know, type on the search space “The Return of the Native” by Thomas Hardy and buy the book. You can read it online also.
Coming to the point, firstly, it is not any kind of review or advertisement of the book because this Classic book need no such thing. Though I’ve tried to write an imaginary travel experience using Hardy’s imaginary heath-land Egdon I’ve no intention to cheat the readers with a false experience. The experience is genuine and any book-lover can connect with my emotion immediately.
Now what is the purpose of sharing this imaginary experience? Believe me it is just a trick to satisfy my cravings for traveling while we all are stuck in our homes. This situation doesn’t let us follow our desire. We are getting depressed with every passing day; life seems worthless sometimes; we are making our situation more difficult with our never ending worries. So I find this trick of reading books, travel blogs , travel stories to satisfy my mind temporarily and keep my appetite alive for travelling. Yes, it is true that my senses are not satisfied but my mind will try to make peace with them until I set forth for a real one. 😊