There’s nothing I love more than a long walk in the countryside; the feeling of stretching my legs, fresh air in my lungs, the space and time to clear my mind and gain new perspectives…
One of my resolutions this year is to get back in to walking. When I lived in Brentwood I spent every weekend and spare moment in a country park or woodland, exploring and taking photos of the local wildlife. Moving to Cambridgeshire put a halt to that; I found myself constantly comparing my new green spaces to the ones I had frequented in Brentwood, and always found them lacking – in the end I lost my passion for getting outside.
On New Years day I was desperate to go for a walk, feeling bloated and lazy from a festive season of excess. We decided to visit Hinchingbrooke – a wooded area with lakes- just a short 20 minute drive from our house in SNO.
We had visited Hinchingbrooke before – quite some time ago when we were first exploring the area. I remember visiting it and thinking it was the better park of the handful we had visited, but I still hadn’t been all that impressed. Still, a New Year means a new start – and I wanted to give it another go.
This time we took a completely different route – one that found us circling a huge, glassy lake. As the sun shone through the grey clouds I began to think how funny it was that during previous visits we had completely missed this beautiful (and huge)lake- almost as if it had been hiding in plain sight (or I’d been too stubborn to see it).
We walked further on, crossed a bridge over a twisting river where a family of three were playing pooh sticks and laughing as the river swallowed up the sticks at one side and spat them out at the other.
On our previous visit I had mentally remarked at the lack of wildlife. My favourite park in Brentwood had been full of fallow deer, with well-stocked bird feeders and a lake filled with ducks, geese and other water fowl. On this new route I saw a beautiful river that pooled in to a pond with a handful of ducks peacefully going about their day. Wildlife photography is a huge passion of mine so I was very happy to get a chance to snap some photos of nature at its finest (rearing its’ butt out of the water).
Walking on we also discovered a woodland with trees that towered impossibly in to the sky. At this point we had already been walking for the best part of an hour so we only walked a short way in. It felt peaceful and quiet in there though, and I know I will return again to explore further and see what treasures I can unearth.
After the walk I couldn’t help but feel uplifted and better in myself mentally. It also reminded me the importance of keeping an open mind and being willing to give things a second go. Comparison truly is the thief of joy and all the while I was comparing what I have to what I had, I really was missing out on some new adventures and some great places. This year I’m going to try my best to let go of comparison in general, and find joy in all the little moments, all the walks, all the rivers and all the journeys I take.