Saturday, December 16, 2006

Choosing to walk


I suppose that my husband had a very valid question this week. Last weekend, at church, we were being encouraged to get involved in each others lives, to ask for help, to offer to do something with or for someone We had written things on small slips of paper, and then looked through all the things on offer and chose one.

Why on earth would I choose to go for a walk with someone after a whole week of walking back and forth from school? I think the “choose” was the answer. All the other walks, I hadn’t really chosen to do. With the car off the road, the choice was made for me and the route was well walked and predictable. Here, I was choosing to walk, with someone I wanted to get to know better, somewhere I had not walked before.

We headed off to Tomatin Woods just outside Inverness. There were lots of very clearly marked trails. We walked in a circular route for about an hour, talking of all sorts of things. All that was missing was a dog, although one joined us for a wee while – a black and white spaniel type of dog, extremely wet from playing in the puddles!

We talked about jobs, and holidays, families and weddings, people we used to know and we talked about God. It was a satisfying conversation in lovely surroundings.

What came to me was just how much nicer walking is when you are with someone! I have a tendency to just do stuff myself, not really thinking of inviting anyone to join me. Sometimes I just like my own company, but often it’s because I don’t think they would want to come. It harks back to my pre-marriage days and not having a huge circle of friends, I would just take off by myself, simply because, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t ever go anywhere. I have got used to doing stuff by myself and it is nice to be reminded that sharing the experience makes it more satisfying.

However, walking with someone does have its limitations too. I kept to the path, where had I been on my own I would have wandered off the path – that is how I get lost so often! I see something interesting and have to go and have a closer look. I am tactile – I pick up stones with interesting colours or textures, I swirl my fingers around in puddles and stroke the bark on trees. And I dream…I work out plots of stories in my head, write opening paragraphs for a novel, or make up rhyming poetry couplets.

I shall have to find a fellow writer for my walks then I can have the best of both worlds – the company that I really did enjoy, and the freedom to touch stuff and to dream and make up poetry – which I missed.

Maybe that is the part of getting to know people better. Once I know people better I can drag them off the path to touch the bark on a tree and invite them swirl their fingers in a puddle with me!

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