#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 07

#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 07

Day 07

There is this path leading out of the park that has been taunting me for over a week. I see it almost daily but have never wandered to it. It it narrow, less than two metres wide. Trees border its edges, protecting the brook below on one side. Fences keep houses secure on the other. I cannot see far along the path. It could extend into a vast field but a curve leaves everything to my imagination. And those days, I am unwilling to explore any path that is less than two metres wide.

I see it today, the path, and for a moment I hesitate. There are not many people out this evening, but one person too close is enough. I slap away the growing fear.

‘Let’s go that way,’ I tell my partner pointing at the lane.

She does not argue against the idea.

We tread carefully along the grass, a small track marked only by the coming and going of many feet and paws. The path expands, more than two metres wide now. We relax into a slow pace. It is like walking by a river or canal on the outskirts of a small town. To our right, a brook gurgles, overlooked by rail tracks. It is easy to ignore the tracks when there is so little traffic on them. To our left, fences are erected high to protect house owners from being seen. But we can hear them. There are children playing on swings and trampolines. Adults are chatting more quietly. The faint air of a barbecue being lit lingers in the air.

We walk on, unsure how long this path is or where exactly it goes. Based on the tracks, we assume it will lead us to the train station. And it does. Back on familiar ground, we turn into a well-trodden street. The pavement is narrow, difficult to navigate for two people abreast. So I walk on the road.

The birds are active this time of day, hopping on the ground in search of food, catching a twig to strengthen their nest, occasionally flying over our heads. Their song is clear in the quiet air. I close my eyes briefly and listen. The constant hum of the motorway not far off is barely recognisable. It could be a quiet A road in the middle of nowhere. If I focus hard enough, I can just make out the rustle of leaves in bushes.

A car engine breaks the peace. It is coming from the opposite direction and I do not need to move from the road. The car feels fast, too fast. It probably isn’t. Every car seems too fast of late, my sense of speed and distances reduced to human ones. A couple of cyclists whizz by and I envy them the freedom of their wheels. I have not been brave enough yet to take my bicycle out. But today it doesn’t matter. I am happy on foot, listening to the world around me. I am more relaxed than I have been in a while. There is a quietude to be found here.

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