The day dawns bright after the rain. It’s an opportunity not to be missed. Now we’re into October, how many days like this will we get to enjoy.
The man with his two dogs says it’s 4 degrees. I ask him, the air or the sea as we grin like school kids on an outing to the seaside.
The temperature of the air. The sea is much colder, it’s bitterly cold. He says.
And I agree as I take to the sea and the waves crash in and recede with a dragging undertow. No chance of swimming today. Too wild. But I’m fine just jumping waves and squealing. I get all childish with the sea. All inhibitions go out the window and pure joy takes up space in my whole being.
5-10 minutes of jumping and waves bursting over my head and I’m ready to meet my day
The month draws to an end. And so does my challenge of walking out every day, taking photographs and reflecting on the practice. I didn’t manage it every day as mid-way through sickness hit our household. But I do think I completed more walks than if I wasn’t trying to complete the challenge.
Today was a glorious window of light, that I’d be a fool to miss out on. So it was a quick dip in the bay and it was bitterly cold. And then a brisk walk along the shore to warm up. It was a great way to start my day and help with productivity for the rest of it.
As promised to my Patreon sponsors, I delivered my first essay from the forthcoming mixed genre memoir. I’ve made a commitment to share one essay and reading list that I used to complete the essay at the end of each month for the rest of the year. Yes only four months but still that’s four essays done than not.
The theme was climate justice this month and I enjoyed writing it once I got into it. This essay’s been brewing since I first came across the work of Wretched of the Earth. So the time and space and audience to finally complete the beginnings of an essay around this. This is just a draft but at least I now have something to work with moving forward. Making this commitment made me accountable. For which I am thankful.
You can jump on Patreon for as little as $1 to read it if you want. And as always, I appreciate feedback, comments and arguments.
Here comes October, my birthday month. Yay!
I have arrived.
I am home.
— Thich Nhat Hahn
This was a great walk along a 6 mile stretch of Hadrian’s Wall to finally seeing in real life the iconic Sycamore Tree. Tree of the Year, 2016 and the most photographed spot in the whole of Northumberland National Park, I’ve had this site on my bucket list all summer. So to finally be able to spend time with this majestic tree growing from within a gap in the Roman wall was a moment indeed.
Whin Sill the bedrock beneath the wall, in this area, has been naturally worn away by large amounts of meltwater flowing beneath the ice sheets to create channels, or gaps. Other gaps can be found at Rapishaw Gap and Milking Gap.
This tree has become famous not for its geology but for appearing on the big screen and TV, starting along side Kevin Costner in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Brenda Blethyn in the TV series Vera and Robson Green in More Tales from Northumberland.
“The only way to understand a land is to walk it. The only way to drink in its real meaning is to keep it firmly beneath one’s feet … Only the walker can form the wider view.” – Sinclair McKay
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Today was a good day to walk. I’m making time in my day to walk. I’ve been sitting for far too long. I’ve read somewhere that sitting it like the new smoking – no good for our bodies.
But I’m of a more positive persuasion rather than being scared into taking action. I’d prefer run ( well in this case walk) towards the benefits of adopting new habits rather than the bad.
Reading an article in The Guardian about the benefits of walking and talking for our mental health, I learned nothing new but it did help as a reminder.
“You’re walking rhythmically together,” says Neuroscientist Shane O’Mara “and there are all sorts of rhythms happening in the brain as a result of engaging in that kind of activity, and they’re absent when you’re sitting. One of the great overlooked superpowers we have is that, when we get up and walk, our senses are sharpened. Rhythms that would previously be quiet suddenly come to life, and the way our brain interacts with our body changes.”
Out walking earlier than anticipated today, due to other commitments, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. I felt like I was walking taller, feeling the benefits of the practice, spine straighter. Also I was noticing more, being aware of my surroundings. Flowers, leaves and berries.
Blackberries take me back to childhood and going blackberry picking with friends. But never managing to reach home with any of our harvest as I would always eat them beforehand. Not today, came home with a cup full as well as a few scratches along my arms and plan to make a coulis with them. Of course some blackberries didn’t make it home as I had to test their sweetness mid-pick. Juicy loveliness worth the scratches.
“In. Out. Deep. Slow. Calm. Ease. Smile. Release. Present moment. Wonderful moment.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Walk