No, I’m not talking about a person or other being who is always there for me and whatnot. I’m talking about a literal rock. A big piece of granite that’s sitting on top of a big hill behind my house. My rock.
Something I firmly believe is that everybody has to have a place that they can call theirs. Somewhere that they can go to relax, get away from people – a ‘happy place’, if you will. It doesn’t matter who you are, sometimes life gets on top of you and your own space is absolutely necessary. For me, this is my rock.
When I’m not at University, I’m fortunate enough to live on the edge of Dartmoor. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s essentially a 954 square-kilometre expanse of hills, grass, rocks, rivers, and sheep. My house is less than a 2-minute walk from a large hill known locally as the ‘Beacon’, which for people who live around here marks the beginning of the moor, separating society from what lies beyond. On the very top of this hill is my rock.
I’d like to point out at this time that I refer to is as “my rock” because in my entire twenty years of existence, I have never seen anybody else on it unless I have taken them there. Which is exactly the beauty of it.
Picture this; you’ve reached the top of the hill. It’s a hot day and you’re out of breath and a little sweaty, but that doesn’t matter – you know when you get to the tor there will be the all-familiar breeze to cool you down. You now walk a short distance up a small incline through long grass, with nothing but the occasional dragonfly buzzing past you, and before you appears a mini-mountain of rocks. Naturally, you want to climb them because… well… you can. So you do. And you keep climbing until you’ve reached the very top one. You’re the highest point for miles around, and there’s nothing breaking the silence other than the soft breeze occasionally rustling the grass. Perfection.
The rock is my happy place for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the views are astounding. In one direction, Dartmoor continues on for as far as the eye can see with crystal rivers, trees and wild horses. Turn to face a different way, and you’re faced with civilization. Roads winding around countless fields, tiny cars and buses all headed somewhere. People are getting on with their lives down below, but I don’t have to be. Not on my rock. Look behind, and the dark turquoise sea lies beyond the rugged cliffs. Each view is as breathtaking as the last. But that’s not all. I love that it’s so high up. Just like anybody else, I have plenty of shit that goes on at home. With every step up that hill, I’m climbing away from it. And when I get to my rock – when I’m up there – what’s going on below me doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even factor into my mind. Up on my rock, I am totally and completely free. Time doesn’t exist. I don’t have to pretend to be anything or anyone to please other people. ‘Problem’ isn’t even a word and I can do whatever I want to do. It’s outstanding.
Everybody needs a place like that, and I’m glad that I’ve found somewhere that I love so much to be mine. When you’re surrounded by people all day and your problems seem insurmountable, you need to be able to do something that is surmountable. And for me, that thing is hiking that hill, climbing that rock, and enjoying total and absolute freedom from the world below.