An Autumn Walk with Carole, Jay and Cat (In Spirit)

Blog by Carole “ancient, creaky, stick” and Jay: “tall, specs, autism”

One of the pleasures of autumn and winter is making a stew and leaving it for hours in the oven. Easy-peasy, lots of veg and hardly any washing up afterwards. And a warm house to come home to after our walk. Lovely!

So, stew safely in the oven, we’re up here on the cold, windy top of the playing field, and there’s the faraway semicircle of hills before us. We have to stop. It’s too beautiful to just walk on by. My ability to be impressed is in fine fettle, but my memory for actual facts is getting a bit shaky.

“Jay, what’s the name of the hill where all the wind turbines are?”

“Scout Moor. Obviously” he says, with withering scorn.

“Oh,” I say innocently. “I think you might have mentioned that before.”

“I might have.” He tries, but can’t hide the fact that he’s smirking.  I threaten him with my stick. 

The ethereal group of tiny white windmills shine out, sunlit against a background of dark purple cloud, while to the left the hills themselves are dark: blue against paler clouds. What a sight! 

We’re on our way round our usual walk once again. The coronavirus is still with us, the politicians dictate what we can and can’t do, and ‘lockdown’ is now a real word used in many a conversation. Brexit looms, and the American election is in full swing. Human life is positively buzzing, like a big dangerous wasps’ nest out there. But still we go out for our walk, and still it calms and soothes us. 

A familiar acquaintance with an old border collie ambles up the path. He pauses.

“When will it all stop?” 

“Who knows? How are you doing?”

“Oh, I’m all right,” he says. He wants to tell us about What They Ought To Do, and I nod along; it’s the human contact that matters here, not an argument about who’s right. Tough old man, he’s probably been through worse.

Jay strides onward. He isn’t really one for idle conversation with people he doesn’t know. I scamper after him. 

“Careful, you might fall over.”

“Nah. Got my stick.”

“The cat thinks it would be a laugh.”

“She’s not here.”

“She is. In spirit,” he says mysteriously.

You can’t win with these conversations, so I don’t even try. Anyway, I bet the cat would laugh.

Coming home, we open the front door and the house reaches out with a warm embrace; a wonderful savoury smell of stew greets us.

So does the cat, looking pleased with herself, stretching out her back legs in that funny way cats have. She looks meaningful. She knows there’s chicken in that stew.

The trees out there are bare now, elegant skeletons. Our walk was reassuringly familiar, and yet in a way we too feel stripped bare, like the trees. We just keep going. We know what happens to trees, in the Spring. 

Photo credit to Marion one of our Kent Ramblers, thank you.

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