The Crow Hill bog burst
2nd September 1824
The Bronte children were out walking when a storm descended on the hills. By evening Patrick Bronte was becoming worried that this children had not returned when the weather took a turn for the worse . Patrick reports a sound like an explosion and earthquake from upon the moors that caused an enormous landslide and tsunami of water logged earth and rocks to career down the Ponden valley.
Subsequently the children were found safe and sheltering from the storm but mystery remains as to the cause of the bog burst. Was it an earthquake or explosion or could it have been something like rotational slip from saturated peat and earth ?
The birth of Heathcliff
Undoubtedly the moors had a visceral influence on Emily and her siblings. In Wuthering Heights the moors are more than a backdrop for the story, they are a living womb, a self aware operating system, they are the personification of Gaia.
As with all thing s Bronte however, there is a reciprocal power and energy they release and it is no wonder they are identified with the sacred female trinity, or witches or mystical beings.
High waving heather, 'neath stormy blasts bending,
Midnight and moonlight and bright shining stars;
Darkness and glory rejoicingly blending,
Earth rising to heaven and heaven descending,
Man's spirit away from its drear dongeon sending,
Bursting the fetters and breaking the bars.
All down the mountain sides, wild forest lending
One mighty voice to the life-giving wind;
Rivers their banks in the jubilee rending,
Fast through the valleys a reckless course wending,
Wider and deeper their waters extending,
Leaving a desolate desert behind.
Shining and lowering and swelling and dying,
Changing for ever from midnight to noon;
Roaring like thunder, like soft music sighing,
Shadows on shadows advancing and flying,
Lightning-bright flashes the deep gloom defying,
Coming as swiftly and fading as soon.