…you are able to see…
The world is made over: up close, deeply personal, and in your face. The bubble of the car or bus or plane can’t protect the plodder. When I walk, I am in and of the world in a way I never can be when I’m using mechanised transport.
On my feet, I’m transported.
Like last week, when I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of a calf, freshly slithered from its mother. And the cow? Well, she was busy eating the afterbirth, feeding up on nutrients for the wobbly, slick little critter she had just produced.
They are all along the road, because the world keeps on making them happen. In spite of the violence and cruelty we humans can inflict, there remain births and wonders just waiting to be noticed.
I thought of that Mary Oliver poem as I walked – the one from the previous post. I really was the bride married to amazement as I watched the calf, right there in the miraculous mess of the road. No, I was not just visiting the world, and the cow didn’t care whether I stayed or walked. The cow felt no embarrassment. The cow was busy with life.
Like the butterflies that fanned my face and flew at me in swirling gusts of orange and brown. They were drunk on autumn, it seemed. Dozens of them, rising in drifts from gullies and crevasses. Impossible to photograph but indelibly imprinted on my heart-camera.
And invisible from a car.
There are costs in slogging. Sweat, slips, bruises, callouses and occasionally fear. But what rewards…
One of the loveliest gifts for me is the layering of road-memories I have, from decades of walking. There are times when I can barely recall where I am, which road I walk. This weekend I remembered an autumn road in Spain. As I’d walked that road, I’d felt I was I Australia. You can see why!
The road plays tricks with me.
Takes me away to other places and times.
Lets me drift, high above myself and into the past and the future.
Takes me out of my insignificant concerns and reminds me of the ongoing mysteries.
The road brings me home.
Home to the ordinary, day-to-day, humdrum wonders and miracles. Birth. Death. Beginnings. Endings. Seasons. Times.
Footfalls on a road.
Sometimes the rhythms find each other.
Then I fly…