“I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of taking walks – who had the genius, so to speak, for sauntering: which word is beautifully derived “from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked for charity, under the pretense of going à la Sainte Terre,” to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer,” a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander.”
Henry David Thoreau, American essayist, poet and philosopher. 1817-1862
My walks these days are more a saunter than a brisk walk. But while sauntering I have time to take in the sights and the scenery. Yesterday, I ventured further into a park that houses the outside swimming pool. Nobody was in it and I omitted to take a photo of this sad, deserted area, But I did get some others.
The street leading to the park
Deserted play area
Almost a country lane
but so close to town
I wonder where this drive leads.
The path through the woods
The path not taken
And so, as the day is drawing to a close on an. autumn day, I make my way home again to a warm drink and my book.
When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods:
what would become of us, if we walked only in a garden or a mall?
Henry David Thoreau
No matter how dark the night we know that whatever happens,
the sun will rise tomorrow and then all the shadows
will be chased away.”
Judith Baxter 1938 –
What part of this message do people not understand? We have a Minister of Health who has broken the lockdown on two occasions. We have an outspoken, and well-regarded doctor in the far north, who reprimanded the citizens of his home town for ignoring the Stay Home notice. Now we find that he went kayaking over the weekend.
And out of the spotlight, I have neighbours whose daughter and young children visited yesterday and a friend whose son visited. We now have only five more days in the current Alert Level 4 and at 11.59 pm on Monday less stringent rules will apply to lockdown. Our bubbles can then be extended. Can these people not wait five days?
Our Prime Minister congratulates almost all New Zealanders for obeying these strict rules and helping to keep Covid19 under some control. Foolish, and unthinking actions like these will quickly undermine all the good that has been achieved over the preceding weeks.
Selfishness and Me Me attitudes cannot be allowed.
OK End of the rant; well at least for today.
Here in Aotearoa, NZ, we are getting our first taste today of the winter to come. Rain and wind met me when I woke this morning. No sign of the fabulous Indian Summer we have been enjoying over the last few weeks. Here, winter is mostly grey and wet: maybe thoughts of winter encouraged today’s rant.
But I am English and like the mail, we go out in the wind and rain for our daily perambulation; suitably dressed of course. I don’t know if there will be photos to accompany me on the walk and to share with you.
And a reminder – a pluviophile is a lover of rain.
“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”
Roger Miller, American singer-songwriter and actor
April gave a party; The leaves by hundreds came–
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet and everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing, Professor Wind the band.
The Chestnuts came in yellow, The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses MapleIn scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow now fallen from the sky.
George Cooper (1840-1927) was an American poet and composer.
Another beautiful autumn day had me scurrying out for my walk before lunch.
Today, I found yet another lovely pathway to walk along. I could hear the people on the dog park, exercising their dogs and chatting with each other; the dogs were barking; the children were laughing and the adults were chatting. Almost, but not quite, back to normal. But dogs don’t understand social distancing as we do.
And the walk –
Then back home in time for a video call with my grandson No 4. He is at university in Christchurch and today the university re-opened following the Easter break. All learning will be covered online. So he will be kept busy, if not amused, during the lockdown. How lucky am I to have these young men in my life and how grateful I am that they want to include me in theirs.
And today there was no 1pm televised update with the Prime Minister and the Director-General of Health. Instead, we were glued to the television at 4 pm to learn that we were to come out of Alert Level Four and move to Alert Level Three at 11.59 pm on Monday 27 April. This will have been good news for many businesses but for most of us, there will be little change. The main one that will affect me, is that I will be able to travel in my car the 8 kms to once again take my favourite walks along the beach.
And so another day in the life of an aged lady comes to an end.
and from Mary Oliver, of course:
“As long as you’re dancing you can break the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is just extending the rules
Sometimes there are no rules.”
Note – apologies to Mr Cooper. April is autumn in our part of the world, not October
We are still enjoying lovely warm, late summer days here in Wellington; but we are reminded that it is autumn/fall because the leaves are turning colour all around us.
Taking advantage of this weather, I have been walking each day. Just around the neighbourhood and I am finding out that it’s a delightful area in which we live. Today I found a new park and walkway. I have often walked past the sign to Cummings Park next to the local library; today I decided to visit it.
The park forms part of the Northern Walkway, a walk of 16 km around our capital city. One can enter it at various points and one day I shall go further from this starting point. I have walked most of it in parts and at various times. This is a new find for me.
And then, because it is Autumn and the nights are drawing in, I hurried home as the sun and the temperature dropped.
“When I’m in turmoil, when I can’t think when I’m exhausted and afraid,
and feeling very, very alone, I go for walks.
It’s just one of those things I do.”
“One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa,
“and what is inside them,
for words have the power to change us.”
― Cassandra Clare, American author of young adult fiction,
Many years ago I discovered Julia Cameron and her book The Artist’s Way. Through this book, her suggestions and in particular, her Morning Pages, I found that what I really wanted was be a life coach. I then discovered a special Life Coach, Cary Volmer in Minnesota, and found out first hand what a life coach does. She encouraged me and subsequently I took a Life Coach course in Australia and became certified.
So why am I telling you this today, many years after the event? Well, today I purchased Julia’s next book – The Artist’s Way for Retirement.
As usual, I’m spending the weekend with my son and his family. Today my son was asleep as he works as Night Manager at a Wellington Hotel, my grandsons and their mother were all working and so I took myself off for my walk and ended up in the local mall. The bookshop, as always, drew me to it and I saw this book. I picked it up just to look at it, you understand. The book fell open and the first thing that jumped out at me was the paragraph that included:
“Walking makes” a quilt out of the silken patches of our experience.
So yes, it’s important that we walk.”
For me, walking has broadened my life, making me more independent than I have been for several months -4 or 5 kms a day makes all the difference to my life. So of course, I had to buy the book.
As I’m almost completely recovered I now have to decide what to do with this life of mine and so I’m starting the 12-week course covered in this book to find out where I’m going next and what I am going to do. So as we say,and if you’re interested, watch this space.
“It is a serious thing
just to be alive on this fresh morning
in this broken world. Mary Oliver
Just wasting time on Facebook this morning. The sun is shining and I should go for my walk before I Skype with Chris at Bridges Burning But I found a post on FB from Suzicate wherein she quoted a favourite poem of mine from Dawna Markova.
I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
I used this quote in a post when I was still new to blogging – I Will Not Die. Re-reading that post and the poem, I realise that the poem applies even more to me today than it did in December 2011.
Following my adventure in April, I have had to:
- overcome the fear of falling again
- choose to inhabit my days
- allow my living to open me
- learn to ask for and accept help
- learn to take each day as it comes
- know that I’m loved and supported by many and
- to be grateful for the help and support offered.
So now this day is starting. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and my walk is calling.
“Now shall I walk or shall I ride?
‘Ride,’ Pleasure said;
‘Walk,’ Joy replied.”
― W.H. Davies poet 1871-1940
I dream of hiking into my old age.
I want to be able even then
to pack my load and take off slowly
but steadily along the trail.
~ Marlyn Doan
I used this quote as the title to my post way back in June 2011 when I was a very new blogger. I loved the quote but at the time I knew little of Marlyn Doan and have found very little about her since. However, I found that she was the author of 3 books and was a member of the Higher Education Consultants Association up until the time of her death. In recognition of her work HECA founded a scholarship in her name.
I’m glad to have found out something about her, although the reason for the search was my walk through the bush this morning in the company of my Occupational Therapist.
What is ‘the bush’? In New Zealand, it is the native forest, which once covered most of the land. Dense and dark, it was alive with birds, insects and lizards, but sometimes impenetrable to humans.
Much of it was cleared by the settlers but here in Wellington we are fortunate to have the Otari Native Botanic Garden and Wilton’s Bush Reserve. This is the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to New Zealand native plants. I have written about this bush in the past – A walk in the bush.
It has rained quite lot over the past few days and so it was wet and muddy underfoot, but that didn’t deter us.
The native birds were singing, the sun decided to shine for a short time, the water was gushing in the stream and I was told that I could retire my walking stick as I was doing so well. I have now acquired some Nordic Hiking poles which I have yet to try, so maybe when the physiotherapist comes to visit next week we can try them.
How lucky am I that I have both an Occupational Therapist and a Physiotherapist looking out for me. Two completely different women with different training, but both so caring and encouraging of my efforts.
And now as it’s Tuesday, I shall have lunch and get ready to meet with my friend. We shall probably hve a short walk and then go to her house for our usual game of Upwords and a cup of tea.
“Pray don’t talk to me about the weather, Mr. Worthing.
Whenever people talk to me about the weather,
I always feel quite certain that they mean something else.
And that makes me quite nervous.”
― Oscar Wilde
Well, we were warned that it was to be a cold wet and windy day. Apparently there is a southerly storm creeping across the country and nowhere will be immune from it’s effects. I guess that’s one of the things about living in a small long and narrow country. Sometimes one just can’t get away from the storm.
Well, as you know I’m a pluviophile and I’m English and like walking in the rain so I got ready for today’s walk. But discretion took over. The wind is close to gale force at present and I was told in no uncertain terms to say inside. So that I did and no walking today.
But today was supposed to be called A Word on Wednesday. You all know how I love words and get very excited when I find a new one. Well yesterday I found one –
Peregrinate – to travel or journey especially on foot. Henry James had this to say about peregrinate – “But I seem to travel, to peregrinate less and less and so I am reduced to living on my past accumulations” But not for me. I propose to keep walking and finding ever new places to see.
And now after lunch with a friend it’s 4pm and the sun is shining. The only thing we haven’t had today in Wellington is snow, but we are promised the gale force southerly tonight, so who knows.
And just because I love this, I offer it to you.
The plaque at the entrance to the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, Venice
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me
And I’m feeling good”
― Leslie Bricusse, The Leslie Bricusse Songbook
As I was so pleased with myself following yesterday’s walk, I decided to walk again today.
This time I found some other steps leading from our road down towards the village. And this time there were not 132 steps to navigate but 154.
So I walked down and found myself in yet another road I had never seen before, then on to the village and a hot chocolate and a scone for lunch, although I was so hot I should really have had a cold drink.
Then back home, this time retracing yesterday’s walk to the village, past the primary school, along two roads and up those 132 steps. I must say this gets easier each day.
A shorter distance today – 2.90 kms and 6.9K steps. I wonder where I’ll go tomorrow.
I’m always thrilled at what one sees when walking that one completely misses when driving. And if I hadn’t been walking to the village instead of driving I wouldn’t have found these roads and would I ever have ventured down these steps.
Later I was picked up by a friend to spend the afternoon at her place, talking but mainly playing a game new to me called Upwords.
It has now become a regular weekly afternoon and I am certainly enjoying this new way of making this elderly brain work.
Pluviophile – I learned this word from a blogging buddy, VivinFrance, who I’m sorry to say is no longer with us. Still miss her.
I’m English so I like the rain and walking in it – that is of course if I’m properly dressed. And today it’s pouring down. So I’ll get properly attired and face the rain. I’m so thankful that I am able to walk again on my own. Until recently I had to have somebody with me when I walked but two weeks ago I was given the all-clear. So another thing to add to my gratitude list.
Then shortly before 1pm, the rain stopped and the sun came out. Just to be expected in the NZ summer. So I decided that rain gear wasn’t necessary and I would go for a walk. But once I started I didn’t know when to stop.
I started up our long drive and put on the MapMyWalk Ap. Up the drive to the road and then down these 132 steps, then along to the village for coffee. I decided to come the other way home forgetting that it was all uphill. There were some steps on the way but far fewer (36). So 3.4kms in 57minutes. Very pleased with myself
Once I got home I realised how out of practice I am, so have to do more of this walking to get back into shape. So a cup of tea, Stacey Kent on Pandora and my book and all was very well with my world.
And today I have been given the date for my driving test. When one suffers from brain injury following an accident, one’s licence is immediately suspended for six months. My friendly ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) Case Manager set this up for me. So on October 6, I go for an off-road test and then when I pass that, I will have another test driving my own car around the streets. Hooray – the final hurdle in this latest “adventure”.
Oh, and those of you have hung in since 2011 will know that this will be my fourth driving test. I wonder if it will be as easy as the others.