by Katie Isham.
What better way to spend Valentine’s weekend than by rekindling your love for an old favourite? Sometimes in life we take for granted what we have. We take for granted the beauty we wake up to. We take for granted the sights we see every day. We don’t always take the time to look closely and appreciate the finer details of those familiar loves closest to us.
Of course I’m talking about a walk: what else would I be talking about?
This week, in keeping with current regulations, I’ve stayed close to home. Like everyone seems to be doing, I treated myself to my daily aimless wander to distract myself from the imploding society around me. Nothing a stretch of the legs can’t fix right? But as extended travel is limited, I had to make do with pounding the same streets and taking in the same sights I see almost every day.
Yet this time, I tried to revisit it with fresh eyes. To try to rekindle those initial sparks of romance.
Embark on a walk you know. One of those routes to the shop, or with the dog, and walk it like you mean it. Look deep into its eyes and walk it. Don’t multi-task: put that phone away, stop thinking about fancier walks in more exotic places and savour the details of this particular walk.
The route I took is a staple for me and my canine companion. We approach the 400-year-old Peartree church that looms on the brow of the hill every day, but this time I wasn’t rushing to make the dog do his business or trying to get home before the rains came. This time, I gave it the time and attention it deserved.
I chose a different time of day for this iteration of a familiar route. It was good to see it in a different light. Literally. To gaze up at the ecclesiastical eaves bowed under the glowing heavens of sunset was a joy. The bare branches of the trees were like skeletons dancing on the hill above the city.
Circling the church, I could see new life growing amidst the gravestones. Sparks of white and purple where the crocus flowers were eagerly breaking free from their frozen slumber. I took time to be grateful for the beauty of life, in all its forms, right on my doorstep.
A bench bearing the words of Jane Austen sits outside the church. “Everybody who comes to Southampton finds it either their duty or pleasure to call upon us.” For this walk, I turned my usual dog walking duty into a watching the sun set over the city pleasure. It can be a real tonic for the soul to take a different viewpoint to change your perspective. What duty walk will you find pleasure in this weekend?
Cost: Love don’t cost a thing. Neither does walking, so fill your boots.
Accessibility: Standard pavements around Peartree and the church. You can off-road it on the green if you want to ramp up the excitement. Wellies may be needed if you go further down into Peartree common.
Facilities: No toilets or refreshments. Church and benches in place for quiet contemplation.