When I was walking, especially when I was exerting myself by climbing a hill, breathing became a more pronounced force that was easier to concentrate on than my moderate breathing. Each breath was almost vocal; it almost touched the invisible. As I walked, eventually I became my breathing, and things like worrying, wallowing in anger, and feeling ill will toward others simply fell away.
John Francis, The Ragged Edge of Silence
The Zobar mountains and St Michael’s
I’m often amazed at how I can get it into my head that I’m going to walk somewhere. Whoever’s with me will whinge and complain. But they’ll follow regardless. Perhaps, at first, I’ll feel bad, but by the end I’ll be glad to have dragged them out.
On the Greek island of Kos, I persuaded DeepThought that we ought to get up early, watch the end of June sunrise, and take a walk to the nearby monastery. This was all because the previous day I’d overheard a waitress saying it was unwalkable.
In the hills above the village in which I lived last spring, just north of Barcelona, I convinced a young American man that the rocks that I was scrambling down were a path. All because I’d seen a glimpse of some sort of tower. He seemed less convinced when I fell over and splattered the mountain with my blood, but once I’d disappeared further along he plucked up the courage to follow. He reminded me of this last night when he messaged me for a catch up: I told him I was going on a walking holiday and he asked what a walking holiday was.
In Slovakia, the object of my attention was a small chapel which went by the Slovakian equivalent of St. Michael’s. The afternoon was warm, and my companion was my little sister. Midget has been dragged more places by me than most, yet, somehow, she still agreed that walking up into the forests on the Zobar mountains was doable.
Once we’d been walking sometime she began voicing doubts. Such doubts I always ignore.
But eventually we arrived. Preparations had begun for a bonfire. Children ran around playing games. Fathers, uncles and older brothers, chased them around, while the women gossiped and sunned their legs.
We skipped the mountain on the return journey. Instead we walked through the village, which at half two in the afternoon was quiet and sleepy. The houses were small in stature, but all were detached with gardens. I was enraptured by their stunning displays of vegetables and flowers.
Where have your wanderings taken you?
[Rapunzel informs me that Americans don’t walk, they hike.]