Wednesday, 20 January 2016

The first day of Spring

Today felt like that, and it was good.

I did one of my favorite walks. Not a long one, though at 8.5 miles not the shortest either. The walk mainly follows canals and rivers for the first five miles, then takes rural lanes back to base for the remainder. It was satisfying to cover the distance - and also feel fine, in fact really good, at the end of it, this being the first time I've done this circuit since last April.

Shadow

And, despite having my coat open and not wearing either hat or gloves for most of the time, I was still sweating partway through the walk. The spring afternoon sunshine, though weak, combined with hiking through significant mud (though I've been through worse on the same walk), and a slacking off on the walking front for a while, meant the perambulation was energising.

The colors were also interesting; the browns, greys and darker greens, combined with the low-slung sun and the slight nip in the air made it feel very much autumnal. On the river, swans menacingly cruised, one in particular trailing me at my walking pace for half a mile.

6.5 miles in I stopped off at a village teashop and store and drank far too much tea. I'll still be awake beyond 2am tomorrow now, but it was worth it, and felt so good, so refreshing, after a couple of hours of striding. I'd forgotten how satisfying a nice cup of tea is after an extended session of exercise. The place got a little crowded, with kids fresh out of the local primary school, and their parents, also enjoying the clear skies, sunshine, and feel of the turning of the year. I sat inside at one of the two tables; the "heavily bearded stranger" look meant I had the table to myself, while at the other a group of seniors swapped gossip about the medical ailments of their peers.

Curve in the river

The last two miles were a little tricky, as daylight was fading and the evening rush hour brought a lot of cars, heading towards me at speed, on the narrow country lanes. I took a risk and went, in near darkness, for a path I knew across a field, two footbridges, by a river and through a railway viaduct tunnel. Slightly risky at that time of day to someone like me who's done it a few times before; very risky for newcomes to the route. This was followed by a hurried hike across a large meadow, more to not sink in one of the many difficult-to-see pools of water.

And back to base. Not even tired or out of breath.

So, to me anyway, Spring started today. And with exactly a hundred days until Walpurgis weekend, I'm hoping for many more days like today, weatherwise.

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