Numbered walking guides. I wrote about sometimes following them in the previous post. They can be used on their own, or in conjunction with a map, to lead you almost step by step, from start to finish of a long walk. But what if such a guide was even more specific, intuitive, personal, predictive, or even psychic? In the act of wondering, I wrote the following:
Driven to Distraction
main walk (8.5 Km/5 miles)
- Leave sorrow on your seat, like a forgotten hat. Get off the train.
- Walk out of the station, consult this guide, as if that helps.
- Inform the earnest woman asking if you’re here for the walk, that yes, you are,
but not the one she means.
- Cross the road beyond the underpass, ignore first footpath, take the other.
- Double back, having missed the point – already.
- Ask yourself, why does she feel that way after all this time?
- In around 175 metres, a raptor will arrive. Join a struggle between being in the living moment
and the social currency of photography – you lose.
- To your left, you see a woodland burial site. Maybe your bones could leach away,
here beneath a tree? Is that romantic? Or rot?
- On top of the hill in the opposite direction is a windmill. You won’t be going there.
- Head on through a metal gate, cross this busy road with care, traffic can appear abruptly round the bend. Do not imagine being hit. No, don’t.
- On the other side, note the robin on a gate, a Speckled wood and/or mud.
- Climb that child’s drawing of a round hill, take the chalk-white path arrowing to the top.
- Look back – not there – the view! This is a good spot for sighing.
- In the distance you should see some masts crowning a summit – that’s Slightly Less Attractive Hill, you should reach it in time for lunch.
- Cross an ancient ditch & rampart, fill with abstract prehistoric bovines.
- See that former quarry on the horizon? Avoid it, bearing left.
- Climb a stile, follow the bridleway, until the village where it peters out.
- Cross a bridge over the motorway, then navigate suspicious grazing cattle.
- Take a breath – here’s the site from the cover. Reflect on local legends, pointing to the devil as the scraper of this picturesque hole. Aiming to flood the place, as vengeance on good church folk, through mass drowning.
- That plan clearly didn’t work.
- Ignore the surprisingly ugly pub on the lip of the dyke, press on across the downs.
- A line of scattered hawthorns gives way to open meadow, which must mean…
- Skylarks. Everywhere. Listen to them, thinking vaguely of Vaughan Williams.
- Who knew such drab brown birds could do such things? – even to the jaded.
- Rabbits, running. Pylons…
- Pylons! (Feel bad for finding beauty in their solemn, metal march)
- Carry on. Carry on, carry on until you stop.