shibden07

An intuitive New Year’s Day walk

I set off walking, it was overcast and I could feel it would rain. I took the longer way around away from the traffic of the flyover that I’ve seen many times before but ignored, only to find the exit bricked up, forcing walkers on a less pleasant route. I could almost feel cold fingers grip the back of my collar, “No, Sunshine, you’ll go our way.” So, back around I went to the main road, past the signs barking, “No Parking!” No “please”, no “thank you”, no “you may park at X place instead”, just an order not to do something and a sign saying you’ll be clamped and fined with 14 days to pay. I saw our human rights, the ones stating that we’re free to roam the planet we were born onto, slip into a hazy cloud in the distance, crying for me to save them as they’re trampled by our police state.

It began to rain and I remembered a group song sung with a group of spiritual souls bringing a ray of sunshine to a cloudy day, and so I willed the wind to blow the rain clouds away, and it did. Down the road I noticed a family walking toward me with a black spaniel – I felt so much happiness seeing the dog and I could see it felt the same as it strained on its lead to get to me. I remembered how in India dogs live outside; they don’t “belong” to anyone, they’re free to walk wherever and whenever they choose, and I questioned how we came to the conclusion that a creature could become the property of another.

Upon reaching the park I felt peace. Under the giant, gnarled trees at dusk watching the birds circle the sky, I felt an affinity that I just couldn’t muster for the nearby family with the boisterous children. I stopped a while near a waterfall to let their chaos pass, and then continued to the lake.

I started to take the well-trodden path but the wind blew so hard it felt against nature to resist, so I surrendered and, in doing so, found a river I hadn’t known was there. I joyfully followed the flow of the river and intuitively the path through the woods, where again I felt complete peace.

A train track led me to a cafe that I’d hoped would be open but imagined would be closed today, however the lights were on and it looked very busy. I decided to go in anyway even though I was thinking I’d like there to be fewer people. I wanted a window seat, vegan hot chocolate and plain crisps and within five minutes I had all of that including the quiet, as almost everyone left.

I sipped my hot chocolate while trying to view the rolling hills beyond my reflection in the window. When a young family with a baby came to sit at the next table my knee-jerk reaction was to think, “Oh no, here we go…” but they were unusually tranquil! The baby seemed happy and at ease and the parents spoke to each other kindly and quietly instead of in the aggravated manner I’m used to witnessing. It was a joy to be near them and I told them so, and why, and they seemed happy to hear it. When I left the cafe I waved to the baby and the whole family waved goodbye.

Back outside, the cold had crept in, the evening had fallen and the trees and buildings stood in black silhouette against a dusky mauve sky. I zipped my coat to the chin, and stuffed my chilly hands in my pockets as I passed the lake, streams and waterfalls. Completely free and alone with the nature that surrounded me I felt that this represented the world I ache to live in; the strangled, suppressed world that, in society’s frantic scramble for more, more, more… is becoming less, less, less…