Folk often ask me why I’m so fond of walking. They’re also often quick to point out that a supposedly sore back and walking don’t seem to go well together. They may well be correct, but… for some or other reason I am most comfortable when I’m walking.
I have learned over time that living with damaged vertebrae creates it’s own set of physical rules or limitations, if you like. The golf swing has long been retired to the forgotten recesses of some dark shed. Pivoting and rotating around one’s own axis causes discomfort not to be delved deeper into.
Somewhere along the line the realisation started dawning that life would never be quite the same again. Simply put… I cannot sit for any length of time… I cannot find comfort in a horizontal position for any length of time… I don’t know when I last slept more than a few hours in one foul swoop. I am always tossing and turning. I cannot stand still… that seems to hurt the most. Standing at attention or stationary was the first indication that things were not what they seem. I was still in the military then… on parade… to be a recipient of a medal.
I won’t ever forget the pain. The longer I stood the more excruciating the whole affair became. I’m not fibbing when I say the Commanding Officer, who just so happened to be delivering his speech at that point in time, saw the look of abject agony on my face… he noticed the perspiration pouring and also my slightly ashen colour. That was enough indication for him… something was wrong so he cut short his speech and got on with things. The small blessing of doing a few manoeuvres, changing position, was sufficient to relieve the pain just enough to get to the successful conclusion of the parade.
Now it’s common for me to be seen leaning against something. If I take the direct downward pressure off the pinch points then it helps. So, I’ve become a bit of a slouch… bad posture… bad attitude.
No… I’m just hiding from the pain. Then along came diabetes… and the need for stimulating the blood circulation. Then, along came the need for looking outward. Yes, being housebound, for whatever reasons, has severe limitations on the imagination and the psyche.
I love walking because, for me, it serves so many useful purposes. Mostly though, it allows me to look outside of myself. Why? Well, I’m sure you bloggers and writers will agree… sitting in front of a keyboard is often an inward looking experience, both physically and emotionally… I’m again remained of a Hemingway saying…
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Yes, bleeding all over the keys usually entails quite a bit of introspection.
Walking, on the other hand, allows the imagination to open up again. It allows the soul to soak up more inspiration… it allows the fresh breeze to fan the fires of creativity. Often, just pointing a lens at something plants the seed for another post… for another torrent of words… for another moment or two of joy.
Walking has also given me the opportunity of using the distances covered to return something to society… yep, with the help of a few folk, the good lady wife for logistics and a certain Mr CL of Midlands Simon, we’ve been able to raise awareness and funds for the folk who are so often overlooked by the very society we are privilege to live in.
So… when Erica’s writing challenge arrived, asking us to map it out, I twisted this post around a little. The idea was already there… telling you why walking is so important in my life… it wasn’t difficult for me to arrive at the perfect 3 month challenge.
I will begin somewhere along the Liffey in Dublin and then attempt to cross into every county in the Republic of Ireland within the 90 days allocated. That equates to about 3 days per county as the republic boasts 26 of them. That will mean I’ll have to plan the little excursion rather well… considering that at the start of the walk 20 miles (32 Kms) per day may be good going. I’ll have to get fully used to the routine before I can push it too hard.
But then, I don’t really want to push it too hard, what’s the point? I’d want to be fresh enough each evening to report back… after all, I wouldn’t let a little outing of this nature prevent me from doing daily posts, would I?
So, there you have it… I’ll get the ball rolling by placing my first marker pin along the Liffey in Dublin… then, by taking a well planned meander across the length and breath of Ireland I’ll hopefully get it all done within the 90 days!
OH, by the way, I will of course have an ulterior motive… keep raising awareness and funds for the Simon Communities… across the country. All I now need is a corporate sponsor… a support team… the aid of national radio for promotional activity… a few extra bits and pieces and the good will of many! I’ll carry the collection can… if we can get all the logistics sorted!!
I’m sorry… I’m doing something wrong… I can’t get the map to hang off the page… stupid! So… please click HERE to see more or less where I want to get the walk underway… the map will open… well, I hope it will open for you. Proof that I can at least get the link to work…
OH well… truth in the rumour that technology has a way of catching the technophobes out!! OK… the idea of the map was to show you the first two (very ambitious) legs of the walk. Start in Dublin… and to make life easier in the urban areas, walk the Royal Canal’s towpath. First stop? Kilcock… that way I can sleep in my own bed after the first leg!! Get it on!!