The walk on June 12 was Linda’s first walk but felt like she had been doing it for months and years. It was an extraordinarily beautiful day – brilliant sunshine and a stiff northerly breeze that kept us all awake and on our toes. I had never been to Northam Burrows before and although a Devonian (by lifelong adoption) don’t really know the north coast that well. What an utterly amazing place. The walk had so many different facets to it, and yet felt lazy and calm and centred and personal – not like a group walk or enforced march at all in any way not even close. There were so many places to pause and look, to pause and listen, or just to pause.
These times to pause allowed us to see things few others might notice. At a tidal pool, Nancy spotted some strange trails on the sand on some rocks and after some looking noticed a small, prehistoric-looking creature crawling across the pebbles and rocks, leaving a trail through the sand behind them. It looked like a woodlouse (and yet clearly wasn’t) and you just knew that this creature had been doing this for millennia – for far longer that humans had been present on this earth.
At another pause, we were serenaded by a lark. Well, it was girls he was after, the song not driven by any particular desire to please us. However it was spring lark song at its most glorious, the lark so high that he was quite literally invisible. The song stopped and suddenly from nowhere he appeared, landing just a few metres away from us. Linda had been trying to lead us through a general 360 degree listening/observing exercise during this period, but the lark’s presence overwhelmed all.
We didn’t bring a camera – partially a deliberate choice, and partially a pragmatic one as our early digital SLR weighs far too much to make it fun to bring on a walk. We were glad about this. Although there are some fabulous pictures taken by others, I was glad not to have to worry about capturing this very special experience through the mind and not through the lens.
Thank you Linda. This was a very special experience – one that will be remembered and savoured for some long time to come.