Nature inspired author

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When you think about how much walking DH Lawrence must have done, you realise how often he was alone in nature.

He walked in all weathers, at all times of the year and often probably with poor protection against the elements, visiting Jessie and the Chambers family at The Haggs, seeing other friends, going on ambitious hikes into Derbyshire or back to Eastwood from Nottingham.

Lawrence spent a lot of time observing and experiencing flora and fauna, with plenty of opportunity to think his ideas through while pumped up with those feel-good hormones, endorphins (which such aerobic activities release into the blood).

When Lawrence met Frieda, all in a whirlwind, they eloped, making a marathon walk together over the Alps, as recorded magically in the short story A Chapel in the Mountains and (with some hilarity) in the posthumous novel, Mr Noon.

One is in awe at the distances covered, across difficult terrain, by night as well as day, with inadequate footwear.

This was a time, of course, when the intrepid English would conquer mountains, clad in tweed (although occasionally dying in the act).

Somehow they maintained good spirits and their relationship not only survived - and survived unexpected infidelities - but became stronger for it.

The great final line of Sons and Lovers gives one of the most moving mentions to the act of walking in all literature.

Lawrence wrote: ‘He walked towards the faintly humming, glowing town, quickly.’

This was written at the point of the novel when Paul Morel chooses decisively to live, despite being drawn towards the darkness by the death of his mother.

It comes as a relief to 
reflect how, years later, 
Lawrence came to write much of Lady Chatterley’s Lover with his back rooted to the base of a pine tree, sitting so still that they say the birds flitted about his head and squirrels 
scampered over his 
outstretched legs.