As I stepped out into a mild grey morning, the first of this new year, I felt slightly irked that there was no hard frost to greet me. The silence of the street as I walked gave a sense of emptiness, although it was, I felt, quite late in the morning. My walk this morning was less countryfied, having an errand to run. So wrapped in a coat and my new Russian style hat, I instead walked down the main road with Hiro on his lead, stopping every few steps to refresh his canine social media posts with urine.
Although relatively quiet, the sounds of wood pigeons broke the quiet and the odd car drove past, but essentially we were alone. It is often when I find myself alone that I realise how infrequent I am by myself for any period of time. Over the last year, I have felt overwhelmed by people everyday, albeit my own family, the lack of breadth of people during 2020 gave rise to a feeling of being confined which reminded me of a saying ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’. I imagine for people in prison, sharing a cell for days, weeks and years their forms in one way, an unbreakable bond, and at times the fragile realisation that the slightest things they do prick at every sense of tolerance that I have, and of course the reality that everything I do has the same result.
Even the market square is bare and empty, post new year, it is clean and clear of debris that would normally follow new years eve celebrations. As once again we find ourselves in a new tier of lockdown, I am conscious that this quiet and feeling of emptiness is something I regularly crave, yet rarely feel I get to experience.
I head out towards the cod beck, however following the nights rain, the grass is sodden and muddy, Hiro pulling at the leash, wanting to run free. I pass other walkers, the courteous smile and good morning, customary in North Yorkshire amongst this breed of four legged owners.
The beck is high, flowing fast, and thoughts of possible fishing pop in my head, an opportunity to spin for pike, and yet I fear the water will be too high to bring about any spoils, yet as always with the impatient angler, hope springs eternal that a day by a lake will provide some hope and comfort and set a presented for this upcoming year.
The rain started to fall as we passed huge cows making their way to the beck to drink, and I was very much aware as we passed two huge heifers of a tragedy earlier this year where a man was killed by cows whilst out walking his dog…
Safely passed, we continued slipping and sliding along the path. Clearly my head is full of business today, of the last year, what opportunities this new year has to offer. As I entered my house and felt the warm, I guess these thoughts continued to float around my head.
Even as I walked again later in the day, the rain had stopped, but the grey bleak still beckoned. Sometimes its hard to find the quiet when the noise is inside your own head. There’s uncertainty in my walk, I find it best when I let outside take me for a walk, where I don’t have a sense of purpose or direction and I’m just taken somewhere. It can be an odd looking path that might have an interesting turn or something to show me, and its often when I least expect it that I turn around and something catches my eye.
Although it’s not always, it is often a sunset. Something about how it underscores the end of the day and backlights the clouds with an array of purple and pink and yellows darkening into a shade of orange I don’t really have a name for. Obscured by buildings and telegraph poles, I’m taken elsewhere now to a familiar path to catch the starkness of an ancient oak frame against this cold grey sky illuminated by the last rays of today’s sun. And there it is, a moment, a brief sliver of peace before I head back home to smells of roasting turkey and vegetables.