I walk a lot. it’s a necessity when you have a collie. Fortunately, we live in the country and the scenic walks begin through the gate in the bottom of the garden…
There are lots of variations, but the standard walk, when we’ve only got an hour or so, is to follow the line of the old canal for about twenty minutes, then take a sharp left, which then turns sharp-left down across farmland and into a ‘tunnel of a path’ that leads to the meadows beside the River Kent.
The walk begins by crossing two fields which usually house local sheep. Here we encounter the first of the ‘bridges to nowhere’, as we have named them. It seems to be a popular nickname, as we have noticed others using it… The original land has been bought by householders or farmers. It can be incorporated into agricultural land or landscaped as part of a garden, but may not be built on, as it retains the full rights of a a ‘navigation’: and basis of public transport which is protected by old parliamentary laws.
The walk then enters a small forest, again following the line of the old canal. Here the old towpath is currently blocked by three large fallen trees which will probably take months to chainsaw into pieces and clear.
The stile, above, marks the end of the forest. Still on the old canal towpath, we approach the last of the ‘bridges to nowhere’.
Here, we leave the canal path and descend into the adjacent sheep-meadow. At a gate, this narrows into a track that skirts a second forest before turning sharp left and descending to the meadows that borders the River Kent.
At the end of this descent is a final gate. Through this we reach the edge of the River Kent, one of Cumbria’s rivers that flow out into the northern side of the vast Morecambe Bay.
I decided, long ago and in one of those philosophical yet anarchic moments, that certain sections of a walk tend towards a ‘particular kind of emotional feeling’. It’s a bit like ‘strange attractors’ in Chaos Theory – a comment I will explain further in a coming blog, but, for now, let me illustrate the idea by saying that every time I have passed this beautiful section of the river, I have had a peaceful feeling, but one that has a deeper component.
At first this was a vague feeling, but in the past two years it has resolved itself into an warm and peaceful feeling of ‘acceptance’. The idea of acceptance will be familiar to those whose life-journeys have taken them into anything mystical. The ‘doctrine’ of acceptance says that to resist what ‘already is’ is futile. We can spend years resisting something that we despise, but we cannot refute that ‘it is’. By the time we have accumulated enough energy to truly resist, the ‘battle’ has moved on to something else; which in turn we may view as good versus bad.
As the years pass, I have realised that much, if not all, of this is in the head of the individual. The real battles are those that take place in our consciousness… and heart.
More of this in posts to come. Hopefully, these images have illustrated the walk to the River Kent’s ‘watery curve of acceptance’, allowing me to further discuss this at another time.
Perhaps you, too, have a favourite place that has, over a period of time, introduced a deeper understanding of a characteristic of reality that has become precious to you?
©Stephen Tanham 2021
Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.