During the holiday season there is more time to go out and walk and I have managed to visit nearly all of my favourite places around Wells in-between Christmas and the New Year.
These are familiar walks that I have visited many times before, both alone and with my family. We have connections to all of these places – a favourite tree that we have played games around, a particular sand dune that the children rolled down when they were little (and now they are bigger) and a secret place where we swim. These memories are all re-visited as I walk.
To experience a landscape over and over again is to know it properly. The routine and repetition of taking the same walk throughout the year and over many years is to really understand the place – it draws you closer to it through personal experiences and encounters.
Sometimes something memorable happens: a great change in the landscape as after the sea surge this time last year, or the time thousands of starfish were washed up on the beach after a storm at sea or the time weather and tide conspired to leave frozen traces of ebbing wavelets on the sand. However more often nothing has changed and nothing happens. An appreciation of this ordinariness only happens through familiarity and awareness – you can only notice change if you are intimately mindful of what is going on around you and what was there before.
These are photos are of a walk out along the dyke to the beach at Burnham Overy Staithe. Nothing in particular happened – it was just an ordinary walk.
Happy New Year everyone!