During lockdown, we find ourselves walking the same paths again and again yet each time there are subtle changes, sometimes more obvious changes. Lockdown is making us more aware and that’s not a bad thing.
In Wendell Berry’s poem Travelling at Home, he wrote
‘Even in a country you know by heart
it’s hard to go the same way twice.
The life of the going changes.
The chances change and make a new way.
Any tree or stone or bird
can be the bud of a new direction.The
natural correction is to make intent
of accident. To get back before dark
is the art of going.’
With sunset around 4.00pm, getting back before dark is an important consideration when embarking on a long, even if familiar, walk. But as we walk , we begin to notice more changes in the hedgerows, the lichen and mosses on the fallen trees, the fungi – patches of lightness among the dark carpet of sodden leaves.
The birds are much tamer now the temperatures are around freezing and below. Especially the robins and blackbirds make their presence felt as they crisscross the paths in front of us, reminding us we should think of them as well as those of their kind in our garden. (They are the lucky ones, getting fed mealworms each day.)
It’s the natural world and the beauty of the woodland, mountains and shores that help to keep us sane in these uncertain times.