Friday, 24 January 2014

Walking into the past

There is a long road I used to look forward to walking along many years ago. During the day, overhanging tree branches brushed against the top of my head and on a sunny day, shafts of light would dance through the leaves to sprinkle warmth across my face. It was a very pleasant walk and I associated it with "coming home." But, during the evening it was a totally different road.

Once, a delivery van came hurtling along and just skirted the curb. Its rear doors sprang open and I was pelted with bread buns. In a second the pavement was littered with muffins and rolls, most of which shattered into crumbs upon impact. I was grateful no one was around to see it. The van didn't stop.

On another occasion, two men passed me pulling a trolley on which a new washing machine was precariously balanced. The police caught up with them at the end of the road. The men had walked into a store, held a knife to an employee's throat and demanded that the machine on sale from the front window was loaded onto their trolley. They then marched away with their loaded trolley. How on earth they expected to get very far is beyond me!

Then, there was the bus shelter, open on two sides to the elements. It was a popular haunt for one amorous couple who consummated their relationship sprawled across its bench after visiting the local pub. Quite often, two or three people would be standing in a queue around them, supposedly waiting for a bus!

It was the road I first crossed when I started a new school in a new town and I first cycled along. It was the road where I waited for a bus to take me to college. It was the road I walked along to get to my first job and it was the road I walked above while hand-in-hand with my first love. It is the road I sometimes think of on days like these. I now live far away, with different roads but none conjure up vibrant memories. I drive along them, taking only fleeting notice as I drive by.

As a writer, it is vital that I feel connected to my environment. By walking I can notice small details otherwise missed from a car window and I can use my senses to experience what is around me, feel the sunlight or drops of rain on my skin and with this experience often comes a surge of new ideas.

I see the new year ahead as a new road stretching before me and I do not know what it will bring until I read its end. As I grow older, the road seems increasingly important and I pause more to enjoy its moments.

I think I'll take a journey today and take a look at that old road. It's not raining but I'll wrap up...