Thursday, 16 July 2015

In the spirit of undying adventure

''It is true, we are but faint hearted crusaders, even the walkers, now-a-days, who undertake no persevering never ending enterprises. Our expeditions are but tours and come round again at evening to the old hearth side from which we set out. Half the walk is but retracing our steps. We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return; prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only, as relics to our desolate kingdoms'' - Henry David Thoreau - Walking Part one of three

Inside my head there is an incessant and frantic monologue. It bothers me sometimes so I often fill my mind with distractions, like podcasts or music blaring in my ears to drown out my own noise.

Yesterday I went on a walk with no companions. That is to say I had nobody to chat to nor any podcasts or music to listen to. Instead I listened to the sound of the leaves under my converse trainers, the whirr of the bicycle wheels as the cyclists rode past me and the sing-song of the birds chatting to each other in the trees above my head. In doing so, I was reminded of how much I enjoy walking. I meander along, taking a right or a left turn whenever the mood takes me and it allows a sense of freedom to bloom in me. The world (or perhaps just my neighbourhood) is my oyster.

Ryan stopped me as I was about to leave and asked me which route I was going to take, for safety reasons. I'm not mocking him because I use the same argument to chide him about refusing to take his phone with him when he goes to football training. ''HOW WILL I KNOW IF YOU BREAK YOUR LEG AND GET RUSHED TO HOSPITAL!?!?'' I ask him with urgency, my ability to turn an innocuous situation into a drama on full display. Apparently we have now taken over the role of overbearingly concerned parents in each other's lives. I digress. He wanted to know where I was going and my refusal to specify frustrated him. He doesn't understand that the whole point of my going out to walk is precisely that I do not know where I'll end up.

Yesterday as I walked the plot problems I'd been sat at my desk all day trying to resolve unravelled slightly. Then I practised writing down the things around me, describing them as best as I could, in the most imaginative language I could find. It's just an exercise really, so I won't share any of it with you right now. Maybe once I'm improving I might feel more like sharing but the chances are probably not, because there was no real point to it all, which was the beauty of it really.

Walking makes me feel relaxed in a way that many of my other physical activities don't. The aimlessness of it contrasts with the way that most other activities have such specific outcomes. Go to the gym to burn calories, run to train for an upcoming event. Action X results in outcome Y. Doing something without any real purpose is a useful lesson for me to learn.

Yesterday I walked aimlessly and enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my face. I looked around me and realised that, all things considered, this life is a good one. I think it's important to note those moments down from time to time.

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