I set off that afternoon with no clear direction in mind. I just knew I had to get out of the house. So I walked. Past the train station and down into the small section of shops. I stopped in Starbucks, a cold Lemon Vanilla Frappuccino and a water later I had ensconced myself in a window seat. The words flew out of my pen. I had it. I had found the voice for my main character that had been missing. She was finally speaking vibrantly and passionately from the blank page.
My frappuccino finished I felt the urge to move again. Gathering my books I headed out. Instead of heading home I took another path, farther on. Over the highway and suddenly, in the middle of the city there sprawled green fields. Cows, horses and geese wandered through fields of verdant grass. I stopped and just breathed. The earthy smell, the noise of animals grazing in an open field with birds singing all around. Oh how I had missed it.
I walked farther and farther down the road until I came to a divergence of the ways. A gravel and dirt road went to my left and the pavement continued to my right. I stepped off the road and followed the gravel. Stripping off my sandals I wandered barefoot down the path. The violin sang through my earbuds and there on that deserted road I danced. Only the song birds bore witness to the spectacle, a woman dancing barefoot in the King’s Forest.
The song finished and I continued on my way. It was intoxicating, moving, seeing and hearing. My body felt alive. Even the stones that occasionally stabbed my bare soles were only minor discomforts that added to the experience. I continued on my way running across joggers, and cross-country bikers who smiled in amusement at my barefooted travels. I smiled too. We were all enjoying this beautiful day in our own way. I paused on a rise.
Dark green foliage crept to the very edge of the fields where the explosion of light and more vibrant greens began. The dark undergrowth was lush and blended with the subtle brown and gray of the stones beneath. The birds played in that border between two worlds and the sun painted lovely spots on the ground beneath. All around, the sound of birds, of small animals, and the wind could be heard. And the wind…oh the wind was glorious. It rushed off the fjord like a mad thing, tugging at my skirt and blouse, caressing my hair and skin like a lover. It was a thing alive.
Slowly, reluctantly I made my way from that pleasant wood and found myself on the road again. Emergence from the wood meant I needed to don my sandals again. I did so with great reluctance but knew the day was wearing on and I should get back. I had a lot of work to do. Writing requires devotion and passion and a constant movement toward perfection and occasionally, it requires that you step beyond your screen and your paper. Writing requires experience, and sometimes, that means taking a stroll down a dirt lane, barefoot, caressed by the wind and dancing to the song in your heart.
I suppose, when I look back that walk wasn’t as directionless as I thought.
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost”
— J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings