Every week I plan to write and post exactly 500 words about walking in nature. This is a slightly edited version of a piece I wrote for a writing competition recently and loved writing it so much that I will keep writing and sharing them! So while restrictions increase and worries arise again, take a few minutes out of your day and wonder while you wonder.
Their foot taps along to the rhythmic thumps from their house-mate’s electric drum kit downstairs. The noise could be as annoying as it is distracting but they know that she is doing what she loves, calming her nerves, recalibrating. Just knowing that, warms them more than any of their many scarfs could. They decide to leave her in peace, go for a little wonder: work can wait. Closing their laptop, they squeak their chair away from the desk and get up, tripping over the charging cable for the fifth time this week and nearly knocking over a framed picture of their parents embracing. After regaining their balance and growling at the wires, they shove some threadbare Star Wars Vans onto their feet and swing their dad’s old raincoat over their shoulders, threading their arms through the slightly too long sleeves. They grab their phone and unhook their keys from the peg by the door.
As soon as they step out, they realise that it is the first time they have done so today, after being cooped up all day working in their room. The sky is already cooling to that lilac hue of dusk, making the clouds look as if they are from an oil painting. Knowing vaguely where they are going, they start heading to where they hope the park is. Dodging a pram containing a wailing baby with a tired looking father, they plug into their ears the cheap-as-chips earphones that live in their coat pocket and select a playlist they made the other day that is fast becoming a firm favourite.
After a few atmospheric tunes from the soundtrack to BBC’s Merlin, some calming Billie Eilish songs and that Debussy piece their mum always listened to in hospital years ago, they spy the pub on the edge of the park. When they pass the first row of chestnut trees, the air feels instantly clearer. They find a tiny mud-path, take it and almost immediately the world disintegrates around them. All they see and feel is the path, the trees, the crunch of fallen leaves, the faint spray of old, sparkling rain showering off the leaves shaking from the wind. The trunks, carpeted with a thick, blue-green moss, are soft under the touch; juicy looking blackberries huddle together, glistening; branches twist and dance against the sinking sun, making the last of the light wink at them from behind the leaves.
The trail starts to squelch and they are suddenly looking out across a large pond, or a small lake perhaps. Plants they vaguely recognise, line the rough rim of the water; their mum would have known all their names. Taking their earphones out, they watch a heron glide across and elegantly land on a nest in the middle of the water, barely wrinkling the surface. Everything has become blue now, like they are looking out at the world’s silhouettes from inside an ink bottle. ‘This’ they think. ‘Nothing compares to this. This is all I will ever need.’
Image courtesy of Anastasiya Romanova