"We live as we move, a step at a time, and there is something in gentle walking that reminds me how I must live if I am to savor this life that I have been given"
 
Julia Cameron - Walking In This World

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allen-banks-and-staward-gorge/

"All shal be well and all manner of thing shall be well" - Julian of Norwich

I took a map, not so that I wouldn't get lost (though that helps) but because I
love maps, and finding out where I am in relation to everything else
around....it gives a certain perspective, that the things you can see and hear
and touch aren't the only things that exist and have an impact.
(Does-a-tree-fall-in-the-forest-when-there's-no-one-to-see-it? kind of
thing).

A few routes are suggested as you approach the gateway to the adventure waiting to be had.

 I chose the longest possible route, a combination of about 3 of the routes, wanting the longest possible adventure, a satisfying episode with no annoying cliff-hangers or abrupt stops that could make me feel what's the point-like. 
 First up and along the Family Tree walk, along Briarwood Banks, down some slippery steps, over the footbridge at Plankley Mill and back along the River Allen.
In places the path/steps etc were very muddy and well-trodden.
I lingered, taking as much soulfood in as I could and working out the best routes around the muddiest patches while keeping an eye out for an elderly couple following behind along the way I was going. But I needn't have worried.

I stopped for lunch on a rock by the river.

The couple passed by and disappeared around a bend, the last I saw of them.

I missed my other half, not even able to imagine the conversations we might have had, or the landart we might have made. I wondered wether I would've bulldozed on along the muddy path, occasionally waiting for her to catch up, like the old man was doing? Or would I have had to catch up, wombling along, taking pictures, watching my step, as the old lady did? Would we have walked and talked and stopped in places together all the way, not like them at all?
Picture
04.01.2013 Allen Banks, rocks covered in lunch-time foil wrapping. Removed afterwards and binned
Picture
04.01.2013 Allen Banks, rocks covered in lunch-time foil wrapping. Removed afterwards and binned
After lunch, I found a leaf-like looking piece of bark, quite beautiful. As I continued on I found all sorts of contrasting backgrounds and textures for it. Gradually I made my way to the tarn in Morralee Wood where I had flask tea and choccolate biscuits on a bench.
Picture
04.01.2013 Print in mud on paper
Picture
04.01.2013 Foil rubbing of leaves on bench
I made a foil rubbing of the leaves on the bench and put it in my book of walks. I made a muddy print of a leaf I found on the ground between its pages. I liked it. It looked good.

I left, crossing the Suspension Bridge and walking along the lower path -  hugging the river, at one place the edge falling into it, only my bootprints.
2/5/2013 09:01:00 pm

You would have walked with me, of course. Sometimes I would have secretly wished we could go a bit slower, but just when I needed a break you would have somehow known it and we would have seen an interesting bird or something.

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