Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Theme Thursday - Beginning

I suppose the beginning of my adventure was when I heard on a recent radio programme that Herodotus of Halicarnassus (484 BC - 425 BC) went in search of the source of the River Nile. By searching for the beginnings of such a momentous waterway, Herodotus hoped to discover something about the beginning of life itself. This sounded like a noble cause and one worthy of Theme Thursday so I decided to follow in his footsteps. Unfortunately I had neither the time, nor the energy, nor the spare cash to go in search of the source of the Nile but I reasoned that if I went in search of the beginnings of our local River Calder I could expose myself to the same philosophical truths. And so an adventure was born.
What little I could discover about the beginnings of the River Calder suggested that the quest should centre on an area of moorland to the north-west of Todmorden called Heald Moor. So on Tuesday morning I shook my son Alexander awake and told him that we were going on an adventure in search of the source of the River Calder and the beginning of life itself. He gave me one of those knowing but slightly pitying looks that they teach them at Medical School but, Power Of Attorney form in hand, he agreed to accompany me to make sure that I didn't get into trouble.
Space does not allow me to fully describe the journey we had to undertake just to get to the area where we expected to find the head-waters of the river. We travelled through strange lands (Hebden Bridge and Todmorden) and met with exotic natives (unfortunately, Tony was not around that day). We followed the river as it left the comfort of the last trans-Pennine track and dissected the black mountain crags. We climbed up steep hills and clambered over bracken-fringed slopes. As we made our way higher and higher we discussed the philosophical concept of beginning. Could their be a single source, a single beginning to a mighty river? Was the source for an identifiable beginning merely a cartographers' dream. Perhaps there is no beginning and if this is the case perhaps there is no end.
The end of my strictly limited store of energy occurred as we climbed over a rocky ridge and sighted an enormous waterfall in the distance. The water seemed to be cascading down from heaven itself. "We have found the source, we have discovered the beginning", I said to the Lad. He suggested we climb even further and discover what occurred before the waterfall. I said that this was like asking who created God or what set the Big Bang in motion. I reminded him that good old Herodotus got as far down the Nile as Aswan and then simply said that that was more or less the source because he didn't have time to go any further.
After further strenuous efforts we eventually got down the near mountain and back to where we had parked the petrol donkey. As we walked across the car park the Lad pointed out a storm drain out of which a continuous stream of water was flowing. It flowed down the road and eventually into the stream. Finally we had discovered the beginning, the source and indeed the meaning of life. It came not from the waterfall from heaven but from a storm drain in the ground.
Click here to see how others have approached this week's theme.

28 comments:

  1. "[G]ood old Herodotus got as far down the Nile as Aswan and then simply said that that was more or less the source because he didn't have time to go any further." Huh! Quitter!

    And I loved the line about the "petrol donkey."

    Well done, sir!

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  2. Alan, then your quest was ful-filled, yes? I imagine Herodotus miles upon such ventures. Right nice to journey with you on this :)

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  3. "where we had parked the petrol donkey"

    That line too stuck out 4 me ; )

    What an interesting post and Thanks for stopping by, although I don't answer comments until the following day.

    Traveling is another part of my life. My dad worked at United 4 42 yrs, thus we've been around, and that has helped me see life differently too.

    Will need to stop by and read other posts.

    Thanks again and Cheers to you and yours!

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  4. It's not just knowing when to start, but also when to stop. Not philosophical, just sometimes you think that 'that's enough for one day'.

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  5. Wow, maybe he counld't handle the truth! Happy to know you heard the call to adventure.

    ..one of those knowing but slightly pitying looks..
    I know that look!

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  6. bwah. i like the waterfall theory better! a stormdrain...lol. Sounds like quite the adventure...i am a bit jealous...lovr a good adventure.

    anyway good morning, i just missed you over a marrianas. happy reading.

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  7. A remarkable adventure indeed (and much more staying power than Herodotus).
    Love the Petrol Donkey comment.

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  8. You look every bit the intrepid traveller Alan and lovely scenery. I miss crisp, stoney springs and rivers and spent many a time paddling in their freezing waters without fear of snakes or yabbies. Love yer hat! And all I know about Herodotus was his damned Peloponnesian Wars . .had to use it as a source in Ancient History and it scarred me for life!

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  9. I love the sense of thrill and accomplishment on your faces. I, too, loved "petrol donkey". It just leeped off the page! Great post, Alan.

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  11. Oops, sorry about that. My comment posted twice! :P

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  12. I think you had a GRAND adventure and I am glad Alexander went along too...lovely photographs of the beautiful countryside!

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  13. Ah, a storm drain...too funny!
    You look quite dapper in your hat, too! :)

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  14. "He gave me one of those knowing but slightly pitying looks that they teach them at Medical School..."

    Ah yes, I am very familiar with the look you speak of. lol

    I loved reading about your wonderful adventure and the petrol donkey will have me smiling all day.

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  15. I assume a new religion will follow? Your story leaves me tired but hopeful.

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  16. Wonderful story, and a great ending! Sign me up as one of your followers!

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  17. I'm with Brian - forget the storm drain, it's far too mundane. The waterfall is a far better, more romantic source for the river. In quests as in the rest of life, appearance is everything!

    Great TT post, Alan!

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  18. Thanks for sharing your journey. Nothing's as good as the things we do ourselves.

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  19. Quite interesting! That could be a metaphor for many things; the storm drain instead of the waterfall.

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  20. Wonderful post and photos, I too, enjoyed the petrol donkey...Thanks!

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  21. Puts me in mind of the time as a boy a friend of mine & I actually followed a stream to its source. It took quite a bit of bushwhacking thru the Vermont woods & that was a small stream.

    Herodotus is very entertaining. Eberle & I belonged to a book club that read the Histories one winter; it was great fun.

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  22. So cool that Herodotus inspired a journey like that! Sounds like you had a great time with your son!

    xoxo

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  23. a man of adventure!! Today a storm drain, tomorrow who knows! Great post-c

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  24. hahahaha...a storm drain!

    I also love the line "..one of those knowing but slightly pitying looks.." What a great son.

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  25. You've inspired me, Alan. So many adventures await the brave - even in our own back yards. Did you meet any fearsome beasts on your journey (apart from the petrol donkey, of course)?

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  26. I very much like reading your posts and completely enjoy your humour and British spellings... It makes me happy!

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  27. Thank you all. How do you reply to all that lot? Fearsome beasts Sandra? I believe a number of them became attached to my skin as I slid down the steep and wet mountainous hill. And Jelly. If it makes you happy then I am happy.

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  28. looks like a ton of fun.
    I need to get going on some new adventures!

    -Kels

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