26th June 2017

I took the day off work and went walking on a familiar walk I haven’t done in a while. My son came with me; no one has ever come with me before and I wondered if it would be inhibiting, if it would change the walk, and it did change it, but it is a different walk every time anyway. Perhaps having another person along just makes that more apparent. It was warm, overcast, a little muggy and the walk was a little harder for it, but what made it easier was the energy, the spark of excitement, my son brought to it. Not one for following paths, as I used not to be, he talked me into scrambling up streambeds and down rocks, clambering around in the quarry. It is the kind of thing I have not done in some considerable time. Sure I have walked and explored, I have become lost, but physically clambering around, using my arms and my shoulders and my whole body to heave myself around, is something I haven’t done in some time. And it made me sad, in a way. It made me realise that my sense of adventure, of surety in my physical capability, my sense of fun and enjoyment has all been quashed by my heavy sense of responsibility and, worse, fear. And not fear so much of being injured, which a modicum of caution would alleviate, but rather a fear of failure. Of trying and finding my physical self wanting, of making a fool of myself embodied, as I am, in aging flesh. Yet at the same time I knew that merely recognising this could be enough to make a change. As we walked, spying squirrels and butterflies, wiping the flies from our faces and hair, we made plans to clamber other places, to return and try something new, and I remembered what it was to feel a part of the landscape, to be another creature existing in nature, and not just existing but being an intrinsic part of it, as necessary and as integral as the bees and the birds, the fishes in the reservoir, the flies and the ants and the trees. In other words, a great day.

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