Wintry Walks

Today I’m grateful for wintry walks!

I had wanted to run first thing to blow the cobwebs away, but being a fair (ish) weather runner on the whole I gave it a miss due to the rain and headed back to the yoga mat for a second session. But, lo and behold – the sun came out this afternoon! Rather than just stare at it wistfully I decided to take half an hour off from revision and revitalise my brain, which was definitely the right choice.

It’s been generally wet and mild in England for what seems like months. There has been truly awful flooding in some parts of the country, as I’m sure many of you will have seen, and a general lack of sunshine. It was a surprise, therefore, to get outside and to find the world a chillier place. I wrapped up warm as I was cold from sitting for so long, donned my wellies, scarf and gloves, and headed out for a walk along the disused canal we live alongside.

The path was more like a little canal itself, with deep puddles stretching in either direction and spilling over onto the grass to make little ponds. The ducks were enthusiastic, of course, seeing what goodies they could find in the mud. The sunlight glinted off the ruffled water, turned the puddles into mirrors that brought the blue sky and clouds to the ground. A curious Robin followed me for a short distance, singing his beautiful song as he hopped from perch to perch high above. It felt so good to be out, even for a brief spell, and I filled my lungs with air that held whispers of ice and snow.

I walked all the way to the end, where the canal meets the stream and the path meets the fields, stopping to explore a little wooded area along the way. A Thrush eyed me suspiciously as I wandered through her domain and continued on my way, down to the bridge crossing the water. Several horses were gambolling about in a nearby field, whinnying and chasing each other with glee. Perhaps they were glad to see the sunshine too.

As I stood there with the sun on my face and the chilly wind numbing my cheeks, I was reminded of the poem Leisure by W. H. Davies.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.


No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.


No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.


No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.


No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.


A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

I stayed a while and watched the horses play, the cows graze and the sun play peep-o with the clouds. Then I made my short return journey home, smiling to a man and his dog along the way. It was a positive and rewarding 30 minutes and I felt so glad to have left the house and taken the time to stand and stare.



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