Walking is good for the soul. Fresh, clear air filling the cavities of your skull; earth tramped beneath your feet; eyes full of nature and weather; ears full of birdsong and chattering water.
There is a glorious story to tell you of our walk last Wednesday. It includes streams, canals and mill ponds. Canadian geese pressing pause and refresh on their migratory journey. Ducks in gentle pairs, horses breaking into a run, coots sat atop miniature nest islands. Old railway buildings reinvigorated or left to delicately decay. Old mill buildings existing only in ghostly echo; old mill sluice gates rusting and mossing over, turning from engineering utility to al fresco art. The first hawthorn blossom innocently white yet singing so loud and brashly of spring. Gorse bushes yellow as sunflowers in midsummer; magnolias on abandoned manor driveways whispering an excited promise of glory; daffodils audaciously growing from dry-stone walls. Doesn't that sound like a story worth reading?
There is another story I can tell you too. It involves tears and tantrums over stones in shoes, bunched-up socks in shoes, the wrong snacks being brought, tired legs, tired feet, carries versus buggy boards, and coats versus jumpers. There is a baby sleeping gently but at the 'wrong' time, leading to a ruined afternoon. There are slow footsteps and short strides leading to a late lunch and a grumpy car return. In fairness, there is also joy at the ducks and birds, laughter at buggy pushing, and long stretches of walking beyond toddler years. There is time as a family, jovial greetings with strangers, enthusiastic sightings of yellow diggers and men at work.
The problem is that, Jekyll and Hyde-style, these two stories co-exist on the same walk, and I am not sure how to do justice to both in one telling. So I am leaving you with these worded snippets, a few photographs courtesy of the lovely husband, and a sneaky view of the darling but demanding Little One, happily tramping along with precious bear long after the grumblings and tantrums, and a little before the late lunch meltdown. Enjoy.