In early spring or late summer we'd cycle out of the town and set fire to the moors. The moors were either withered and pale after winter, like an old man's beard, or tinder-dry at the end of October. We called it tatching — collecting fire with a handful of dead grass, and setting a new fire a couple of yards away. That way it spread. A contour of flames could stretch for two or three miles, creeping forward, leaving a black and smoking landscape behind, like the surface of a planet too close to the sun. There was no real danger. The fire always came to a stop at the first road or the edge of a reservoir. But the fire brigade arrived all the same, to do battle with the advancing ranks of flames. I haven't seen the moors on fire for fifteen years. It isn't the climate, it's the kids. They can't go messing about on the hills because their backsides are welded to comfy chairs and their eyes are glued to computer screens and video games. Major tree surgery wouldn't shift them from their seats, they're grafted on for good. They say they're surfing the Web, that they're cruising the Information Superhighway. But they're not. They're garbage pickers, stumbling around inside a cosmic dustbin.
From the novel Little Green Man by Simon Armitage.