By James Egerton
Solace is one of those funny things-- like how a person looks at themself in the mirror or how they like their coffee. It can reveal so much about someone through the perceived insignificant solitude of the action. What you think might mean nothing to anyone but you can be a perfect portrait of who you really are, and what you do to find comfort.
Growing up in rural Wiltshire I'm swamped in a morass of woodlands and wheatfields, which adds up to some pretty nice walking routes. When I step out of my front door each direction I choose to wander holds a multitude of idyllic pathways that wind through tangled branches and inch around the perimeters of sprawling fields. As cliche as it is, I go on walks to clear my head, even when I don’t realise there was anything sinking through my consciousness I always come back feeling closer to myself.
I rarely plan my route beforehand, though I always bring a map with me. It sits in my bag, nestled between a bottle of water and a thick jumper. Part of the reason why walking is so cathartic is that it gives you room to not have to think so much. You’re focused on where you’re going and how to get back instead of the burning mess that felt inescapable from your bed or desk chair.
My favourite part is when I walk by disused structures. Old barns, railway bridges, and stairs that are bafflingly far from any other hint of mankind. If I bring food with me I try and save it for when I stumble upon one of these places so I can sit a while in pleasant solitude. I try to find remnants of those who’ve been here before, relics of the past that house memorial ghosts.
Late summer is always the best time of year to take walks. The air is sweet and thick with ripening. You can taste nectar on your lips just ambling by. And the fields are such a gorgeous pale honey color. The urge to traipse right into the middle and lie down for a couple of hours is a temptation of biblical proportions (and I’d be lying if I said I’d never done so).
It’s good to simply move. See your world from different perspectives. You could find something new, or something you’d forgotten about. There’s something very human about the desire to wander, so why not take a few hours in your shoes and see something wonderful in the world?