Ridgeline is a free email newsletter on walking from Craig Mod. You can subscribe to it HERE. In the first newsletter Craig asked his readers to submit a short bio in answer to his question: What shell were you torn from? This is from Ridgeline #81.
I’ve moved house recently, from the coast to the country but I’ve rewalked every day for a decade. My old home was 400 hundred yards from an unloved and shingly, muddy, stretch of beach on a busy industrial sea-way and I used to tread the same steps, from south to north and back again; my footprints and my companion’s pawprints, washed away every time with every tide. Every beach is a borderland between solid ground and the fluid wilderness of the sea and no two days are the same, so no two walks are the same. Every walk a small but perfect communion between the edge of stability and something wildly unpredictable. Am I glamorizing the drab routine of walking the dog? Maybe. Now I live, surrounded by pasture and crop, up a farm track, half a mile from the nearest road. The old dog is too arthritic to come with me but each morning I’m up with the dawn, committed to a simple, meditative mile there and back. Every morning is different here too. The mew of buzzards and chuck-chuck of pheasants; the soft cropping of cows grazing; the mist inverted in the valley; an inky gibbous moon; beech nuts and leaves in the puddles. I miss the power of the whip of the sea and the tang of salt, but the communion is just as wonderful.