On 10 December 2021, I committed to a daily walk. On Friday 9 December 2022, I celebrated 365 days of walking.
The ground was frozen. The frost was thick. The sun was rising. The moon had stayed up for me. Nature came out in celebration of me keeping my commitment to myself. Whatever a day has had in store, there nature has been waiting for my arrival, reminding me that these steps are the right ones to be taking.
Quite fittingly for me, walking has held joy. Walking has also offered knowledge. In Saskrit, ‘every word that means ‘walk’ also means to ‘know’ (Kagge, 2018, p.161).
This year of walking has held lessons; gentle truths waiting for me to notice them:
- There are unique joys to be found in each season; they will fade and they will return.
- The sun rising and setting is a chance to set aside the feelings that linger and begin anew.
- A hushed grey sky can lend a blanket that allows me to explore my inner world.
- Rays of sunshine glinting through branches shed light on neglected corners of my life.
- A round-the-block scurry or a moonlight wander teach me to accept imperfection.
- Through movement, I can shift the moment.
The active ingredients of a 'morning' walk
As a new year of walking begins, I’m reflecting on the factors that influence the ‘effectiveness’ of my morning walk.
- At whatever time of day the walk takes place, it is reliant on intention – the commitment to self; honouring the practising, becoming, being. When a ‘morning’ walk is tethered to chores or squeezed into the corners of a day out of obligation, it loses its sheen.
- The route taken, the distance travelled and the vistas experienced can be dictated by one’s inner world and not by the time available.
- If a walk is taken in company, it’s valuable when they share a commitment to quiet noticing, and to nature appreciation; ‘just because one goes for a walk with somebody doesn’t mean that one wants to submit oneself entirely to the thing that’s on their mind’ (Flintoff in Dept. Store of the Mind, 2017, p.37).
- Any weather is walkable with the right clothing.
Celebrating what's been and what's ahead
As I move forward with my practice, I’m looking forward to what more I might learn in the steps that await me. I feel as though I’m in a ‘liminal zone’, where I am ‘no longer what I was before and haven’t yet become what I will soon be’ (Flintoff in Dept. Store of the Mind, 2017, p.32). So far in my life, I have had no greater teacher than walking.
This reflection has been a way of me marking the moment, celebrating the daily promise I’ve kept to myself.
A moment of gratitude
Thank you to Alex Elle and Libby De Lana for creating the #thismorningwalk community, setting me off on this magical journey, and being wise guides along the way.
Andrews, K. (2020) Wanderers: A History of Women Walking. London: Reaktion Books.
Dept. Store of the Mind (2017) Walking in the Rain. London: Octopus Books.
Kagge, E. (2018) Walking: One Step at a Time. London: Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
I love how much you have found in this journey. Thank you for sharing it. Walking is my friend, we have memories, we are entwined and limitless in that friendship.
Like you and I, you are such a special person in my world, despite time I hope that when we are together like nature, we are always waiting for each other xxxx