Tuesday, 4 April 2006

step back

“Slow down you move to fast;
you’ve got to make the morning last”

Simon and Garfunkel

So yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind, at one point I was having email conversations with about 20 people about all manner of subjects and it got a bit confusing after a while. I eventually spun out of the office at about 6:30 with my mind travelling at a thousand miles an hour in every kind of direction. Time to chill out. The plan was to hit the gym and start training for the great big walk – 85 miles in 48 hours carrying all I need with me – I was surprised to find myself actually going to the gym and not sloping off home and putting it off until tomorrow. There I was though walking into the gym and picking up my towels and struggling to cram my rucksack into the locker. The trick is to unzip the side pouches first and put them at the bottom of the locker, open the top of the rucksack, pull the sleeping bag up a little to create a bit more space, jump up and down on it a few times and then shove it in as hard as possible. People stop and stare. What I found yesterday was that whilst this is an effective way of getting my rucksack into the locker it would probably be a good idea to take my shorts out of the side pouch first. Due to a lack of suitable footwear and a general inertia I opted to go for a swim rather that go into that room with all the weights and machines, the pool was a bit full. I’m a slow swimmer and I thought it would be rude to hold all those people up so I had a sauna instead; I had three goes on the sauna, one in the steam room and a shower and left feeling really good. I’m going to get into this training business I can tell.

I still hadn’t managed to properly stop my mind from racing and all the way back to Lewknor on the bus I kept remembering things to do, people to call and all kinds of twists on the general intricacies that make up my life at the moment. I wrote a list on my hand and coveted the lady across the aisle’s lap top. If only I could send a few emails I would get back on track with everything I thought. It was a clear night, starry, moonlit and utterly beautiful. I’m guessing I’m probably one of the few 33 year olds out there who went and climbed a tree to get a better view of the moon last night. It was there in the tree that I finally managed to switch off and relax. Well a bit, not much, a lot of exciting things have come up as a result of the piece in the Sunday Times article and I found myself with some very important decisions to make. I did a bit of walking about, full of nervous energy I could not settle. The night was so clear that I decided again not to put up the tarp but to lie out under the stars and it was there that a clarity of thought started to seep into my over active brain. It’s easier to see what is important in life whilst cut off from the distractions of modern existence. No adverts, no phones, no demands on my thoughts. It is also easier to realise that what is important might well be the avoidance of such things.

I was woken by the sounds of a large bird flapping its wings, the sound cracked above me as the first light just broke through the darkness. When it was lighter I discovered that the bird was a Red Kite which was roosting high above me in the top of a Beech tree, maybe the same bird that landed just by me the other day. I lay awhile in the frost, not at all tempted to leave the comparative warmth of my sleeping bag. It was only comparatively warm for it felt quite nippy in the sleeping bag. I was massively disinclined to get up into the cold and so it was that it became, without my being aware of it doing so, just too late to catch the last bus I could possibly catch and get to work on time. I was up like a shot and set off eyes watering with sleep and the cold. As dazed as I was I could not help but notice that the ground had become green. All through the winter it had been grey in the dark of the morning light, the last couple of weeks it has been brown, a carpet of dead leaves and broken branches with the odd bit of moss to lighten the tone. Now though the green frondy things that are poking from the ground have gained sufficient height and number to give a green sheen to the ground all about. Even the moss looks brighter.

I got to the bus stop just in time; I had run, often at speeds I did not know I could manage. Was I just in time though? It was 15 minutes until the next bus came which led me to believe that I had got there just in time to miss the bus that I wanted. I employed myself in the 15 minutes wait in the investigation of the state of affairs of the hedgerow. The gnarled twisted thorny plants are all awash with buds. The buds on the Hawthorn have just started to open, revealing brilliant green leaves, the heady green smell reminiscent of summer days. A bumble bee shot past, the third I have seen in as many days. Already feeling invigorated from my run I was by now feeling fantastic. Running from the bus stop to work at the other end of the journey, whist far from enjoyable at the time, added to my sense of well being so by the time I arrived at my desk, just three minutes late, I was on top of the world. I realised that I could probably count all that running as training for the great big walk and so I had by 9:03 am achieved something. I’m quite pleased, I can go for days on end sometimes without achieving a thing.

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