I recently spent the weekend in the Peak District with my boyfriend and a couple of friends, and we had the most beautiful time. It was the first time we had all spent time together since finishing uni a couple of months ago, and it was so lovely to be together again. We all fell back into our usual roles, laughing together, sharing stories.
Camping at a site next to cows and sheep, we adventured around little towns, drove along winding roads, ate fish and chips, cooked up burgers on the barbeque, and bought a bakewell tart from Bakewell. We also went on walks where we came across landmarks such as Peter's Stone, Chee Tor Tunnel, and Buxton Lime Kilns.
These landmarks appeared on Google Maps; they were marked out places of significance. Sometimes when we reached the landmark, there would be a sign informing us about them. We stood under a canopy of trees, reading about how in the 1800s, the big brick kilns before us would produce over 50 tonnes of quicklime per day, meeting the increasing needs of the steel, chemical, and agricultural industries.
But another time, we journeyed up a hill, past the cows, across the rocks, through the stinging nettles, to see Peter's Rock. We had seen it on the map, we had read it was only 0.8miles from the campsite, but we hadn't realised we could actually see it already from our tent! We had probably seen it already many times, but we hadn't realised it was anything different from the rest of the rocks nearby.
As we approached it, we didn't have the best reviews, and we decided that it was less rubbish the closer you got. There were no signs for us to read and learn about who Peter was or how this rock was formed, so we found somewhere to perch and we googled it ourselves. Honestly, I'm still not completely sure.
On another walk, we had planned to see what was marked on the map as 'Stepping Stones'. Not having any more information on it other than this title, where it was, and a picture or two, we followed what we thought was the right route. However, when we came to the place marked on the map, we found we were about 100ft above this babbling brook, and there was no way to get down. Instead, we lent over bridge walls or carefully stepped to the edge of the hills to see Stepping Stones, and watched. As theology graduates, we half jokingly/ironically discussed Bible passages relating to water.
This experience got me thinking about landmarks as a metaphor. I wonder whether there are things in your life, big events, traumas, celebrations, that are your landmarks.
If you were to map out your life story, I wonder what landmarks would feature. I wonder whether they would be things you'd tell others about on large signs like the Lime Kilns. I wonder whether your landmarks would be photographed, whether they would be visiting sites. Or I wonder whether, like Peter's Rock, although they're mapped, they could be easily missed, there's less information on them, they blend into the rest of the scenery, or it's a bit of a trek to get to. I wonder which of your landmarks would people say, "woahh" reverently, and which landmarks people would raise an eyebrow and say, "huh? Tell me more".
The landmarks we experienced on our weekend away were all hundreds, if not thousands of years old. But I wonder what landmarks are a work in progress, and which are still to come.