One of the nice things about a term break is the chance to think and write and walk, to take some photos and take some time.
Here’s some shots of a short walk I did yesterday, along the mangrove-studded shoreline of Western Port Bay. Hopefully, there’s a poem coming along too at some point.
There’s much to be said, and has been written, about the virtues of walking in nature. I’ve written about it myself, read about walking, and it’s something that I’ve always connected with writing.
This holiday break I spent a few days walking sections of the Great South West Walk, a trail in south-west Victoria that’s been developed over the last twenty years. We walked bits of it, day-walks and nothing too arduous, but memorable nevertheless.
Two things resonate me now that I’m back at home: the site of an wedge-tailed eagle making its way along the dune-line. We stopped and watched for whole minutes. There’s a poem coming, though I doubt I can outdo Hopkins’s The Windhover, which was in my mind over and over as I watched.
And, the long walk along the wild ocean beach of Discovery Bay. In the distance the sky was getting black and blacker, surely a storm was coming, and the white of the surf became almost luminous. In four hours on the beach we saw no other human beings.
You can see more of my walking-related posts HERE
Intense blues walking above Hawker Beach early this morning. There’s a strong offshore blowing and, beyond the shelter of the shoreline, I see the swirls of wind on the water in sprays and eddies, like watercolour paint booms, the sheoak in the foreground.
After a busy time lately, it was nice to take a bit of time yesterday to walk in The Briars, a little historic homestead park close to where I live. I took some photos, looked for birds from a couple of hides and followed the line of Balcombe Creek back towards the sea.
I quite like the idea of walking the same place again, year after year, and seeing the fine and subtle differences. As Thoreau wrote: ‘Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.’ I have high praise for the local: from Gilbert White to Thoreau to the place examined in contemporary writers like Robert Macfarlane.
On this morning’s walk along two local creeks, open to the sights and sounds of the world as you are sometimes at the start of a holiday break, I passed a local chicken farm and saw that it was closed down.
The shed was empty, though it looked like the pens and the wooden fittings were still intact. I had the urge to get in there and look around. I stopped to take a photo through the wire fence and the curtain opened briefly.
Went for a walk down to look at the bay after work tonight, with a strong easterly blowing almost straight offshore from the cliffs, making the bay look cold and blue, like metal, and swirling, eddying shapes on the water as the wind rushed over the cliff where I stood.
There was a boat anchored just offshore, just where the wind would have felt a little uncontrollable, and nobody seemed to be in it. Maybe they were diving off it.
Then, walking back, I was struck by the wind high in the gum tree and the sounds the wind made as it filtered through the leaves. I took some videos on my phone and put them together.
There may even be a poem in it.
I’ve spent the last five weeks or so travelling, in England and Scotland mainly, doing lots of walking, thinking and some writing. The walking has helped a lot, even though I’ve come back with a sore knee which I think was due to all the steps on Arhur’s Seat.
I’ll post some more about this later, but the two most memorable places for me were the Lake District, with its wonderful walking and Wordsworth connections and Skye (see below) for the sheer beauty of the landscape.
Walking in nature is refreshing, reviving, consoling and inspiring. And, even if it makes your legs sore, or because it does, so so important.