A Walk in the Woods

After clearing the washing up, filling the washing machine for the second time, and preparing to walk into town to buy groceries this morning, my phone vibrated in my pocket.

A good friend had invited me to accompany her while she took the dog for a walk.

My first reaction was “I’m about to go buy groceries”. A few moments later, while holding the door handle in my hand, I thought “fuck it”, and pulled my phone back out of my pocket – writing essentially the same thing.

Ten minutes later we were out in the crisp Sunday morning air, crunching frost under foot as the dog weaved this way and that in pursuit of sticks, anything edible, or a survey of places other dogs might have peed in the past.

We talked about anything and everything as we kept pace with our miniature explorer, and it struck me how valuable those few minutes in the woods really were.

I work from home. I’ve been working from home for several years now. I’m also a bit of a workaholic. There’s always something that needs doing – be that work, chores, or whatever else – and it tends to push “me” either sideways or backwards until I’ve become almost entirely forgotten.

I disregard myself at almost every turn.

I’m not sure what was of most value – the few minutes escape in the woods, the company, or the conversation. We talked a lot. We solved very little. I think perhaps it’s just nice to know that somebody is there sometimes. That somebody understands.

When I got home, I made my way quietly into the house and found my other half curled up on the end of the sofa, binge-watching “The West Wing”. She looked up and murmured “I wondered where you were”.

I picked up my shopping bag, turned about, and set out on the original mission of the morning – only this time with a little less weight hanging from my shoulders.

A A Milne once wrote “Did you ever stop to think, and then not start again”. I do that. A lot. I need to get better at not thinking quite so much, and more of the starting without thinking.

This morning – while walking in the woods – my friend said I should write a novel. She was probably right.

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