Today, 20th October 2021.
My fear and insecurity has been attacked by a severe bout of fear of missing out, forcing me into action. Last night I managed an hour at my local Pump House open mic night and still managed to attend this morning’s dentist appointment.
Another tooth must be removed but I’m out two days in a row. Celebrate the small things.
Not wanting to return back to my tower block flat and with the sun sitting low in my windscreen, I drive to the end of Falcon Road. My god it is a beautiful day today. It’s a moderate temperature, the sky is cloudy, there is an intermittent gusty wind and bright bursts of orange light greet me as I drive towards the location.
This Bridleway/public footpath has been here for hundreds of years, at least. When they built the M1 out of London the new road cut straight across the old. This tunnel is big enough for two way traffic and has side pavements. However, it is closed off with no access for cars leading to or from it.
Parking near the entrance I can access the wood on the other side without walking too far along hard (bad for my condition) pavements. Perfect.
The sound is amazing as I go under the motorway, away from the housing estate, I feel a sense of leaving something behind. As I tentatively walk up the muddy pathway which is surrounded with trees clinging on to it’s sides, two cyclists come hurtling down towards me.
Grinning with delight, mud splashed men with red faces and sparkling bright eyes pass me after I move out of the way and continue freewheeling. Standing in the softness of layered pulped leaves I watch them flying down the hill and into the tunnel until out of view.
Further up, I catch the sound of someone behind and turn to see a man running towards me. I move to the side allowing him to pass. He looks happy in earphones. I continue to the brow of a hill around a sweeping bend. There is gate where I rest and look out across the field before me to the motorway. Through the trees I can see the trucks, vans, and cars speeding along. It’s a work day.
Then I find myself crying. Soft, hot tears.
I cry because I’m happy to be outside, by myself, in the forest and have overcome. I thought, at one time, a few years back that I’d not leave my wheelchair again. Now, alone in the woods on a beautiful day, I’m walking, with a stick, gently along a leaf strewn pathway. Quite the lady.
Is it better to have lived and lost or lost having not lived at all? I don’t know who said that but it sure is an interesting question. My envy at cyclists and runners, which became anger for a time, gives way to my own wonderful memories of running and cycling. I smile through my tears.
As I cried it started raining. Composing myself I walk again. Movement in the forest opposite catches my attention, and I stand watching a gorgeous bird busying itself just metres ahead. The Jay with a brown hood, black and white wings with a touch of azure blue on them darted about. It’s large beak was full and it stared back at me through the thicket before moving out of sight when a man and dog appeared beside me.
“Good morning” He said, walking by.
It was at least 12.45 but I still replied,
“Good morning”, and smiled. It doesn’t matter, does it, what the time it is?
The rain was leaking through the tree’s canopy as I walked back along the footpath. The man and dog are soon out of sight and replaced with another. The first man had been accompanied by a white terrier but this gent has a brown cocker spaniel. The cocker, intrigued with some grass on the verge, is making his owner hang around like a suspicious youth outside a shop corner. I do like dogs and miss mine terribly. The man and I smile at each other as I pass. And, for some reason, I also smile at the dog.
As I walk back through the underpass loud barks attack my ears, amplified by the tunnel. One woman being dragged a large dog and another being pulled by a small collection of dogs were barely controlling their charges. The dogs, barking at each other, led their owners past me. The women laughed, I laughed.
I feel so happy I could burst.
Sighing heavily, I get back into the car and feeling very pleased with myself go home. I managed to capture a photo of one of the oaks which line the pathway; large and gnarly, it’s majestic. I’m using it to accompany this entry.
Lessons for the day?..Do not let fear win, and it doesn’t matter what time it is when you have nothing to do.
My aim, over the next year, will be to walk to ‘The Old Fox’ – a public house along School Lane, I fear it may be shut but if not, I’d have earned a drink!
An interesting fact about this route…if they were to open it as a road it would cut the journey time down by twenty minutes.
Journey using ancient bridleway 3 mins.
Journey using government suggested roads which don’t go through gentry’s property 17-24 mins.
Thanks for reading!