The Crack in the Lens
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"I never saw a moor..." Emily Dickinson

Nor have I seen a moor, yet, like Emily Dickinson, "I know how heather looks," and upon a distant land of heaths and bogs and dales I built a world. It is world populated by farmers, shepherds, milk maids, villagers, and country squires, set among the Yorkshire moors. A place where people love and laugh, and are born and die, where men and women strive against the elements and make the best of the hand fate deals them.

The moors of Yorkshire...a large plateau...formed from the uplift of an ancient alluvial plain... made of sandstones, shales and limestones and crossed by dales, steep ravines and marshes. It is a rocky place of sandy soil, covered with heather, bent grasses, wildflowers and low shrubs. A hard place to farm, a challenging place to live, and yet inhabited by humans since ancient times....

Sherlock Holmes said, "My ancestors were country squires, who appear to have led much the same life as is natural to their class." ("The Greek Interpreter," Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes)

This world is not set in the dark and brooding moors of Bronte, but rather the wild and intriguing high country and the low green dales that many learned to love from James Herriot's stories. And yet...according to Sherlock Holmes, "the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside." ["The Adventure of the Copper Beeches," The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes]

Here in a dale among the moors lies an ancient manor, entailed; the ruling of it descending to the eldest son in the family generation after generation. The Squire has many responsibilities to the manor itself, to the village, to the dale, to his country, and to the raising of his sons to be gentlemen.

When we meet a man, how do we know what journeys brought him to be who he is? What ancestry does he have? What trials and tribulations has he known? It is well-known that the toughest steel that makes the sharpest swords must be plunged into the fire, then beaten and reshaped. So it is as well with the best and wisest of men....

I could see him there. Twenty-four years ago, I could see him there exploring those moors with a horse and a dog, investigating old ruins, learning the geology of the place, and loving it until....

"Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his high powered lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his." Dr. John H. Watson ("A Scandal in Bohemia," The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes]

©2011 Darlene A. Cypser