Sunday, December 20

Christmas WanderLand

I love this time of year in the run up to Christmas.

No, not the stupidity of office parties, excessive drinking, & stop-until-you-drop-shopping.

For me it's the peace and quiet that can be found for these few special days when walking local paths.

For the moment the semi occasional visitors now have other places to be. Which is fine by me as it means my weekend wanderings in the New Forest are of a solitary nature, save for an occasional habitual dog walker, similarly benefiting from a lack of human activity.

Despite the car thermometer showing 3 degrees, in the forest puddles are frozen with thick ice, and the ground underfoot is hard & still frozen. Boggy areas, usually a hop skip & splash traverse, today are easily crossed, ice crunching underfoot as I take the straight line ahead.

Sun shine, although weak, is appreciated for the extra warmth offered as I move out from under the shade of the trees. On impulse I decide to extend my route onto Holmsley Tearooms. Usually a hive of activity, especially with the day tripping fraternity, today it is peaceful.

Dog and myself have the garden area to ourselves as we await our lunchtime repast.

We return along the old railway track, preparing to dive back down into deep woodland. Unexpectedly the mix of solitude, sun, and a clear path leading off into the distance unexpectedly brings one of those rare moments of Bliss.
That feeling of oneness with my surroundings; Open to the forces of nature all around me.

Its something I find quite regularly in the hills, especially after a couple of days wildcamping.
But to stumble across it today, on a short and familiar route, is a welcome surprise. And a reminder why I continue to seek the outdoor world, and saviour its offerings.

Christmas - well I can take or leave it personally.

But the rare joy that comes from visiting familiar areas, but finding unexpected joy, is my own gift to myself this Xmas time.

And to share with you, if you only care to go out there and look for yourself.

Oh - and as you can see the new mobile telephone has a much better camera with which to try & capture moments along the way.

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Hi John,

Could not agree with you more, as the “semi occasional visitors” abandon my local walks then familiar paths take on a much more solitary feel and become all the better for it. It’s at this time of year when local walking allows me to feel closer to nature, I usual have to be much more off the beaten track to experience the same 'oneness’ (for want of a better word!). An enjoyable and thoughtful post, one with which I empathize with totally.

Best regards,

wonderful John,know exactly what you mean; at present am in my cupboard with the tv under lock and key just in case I get the urge to heave it out the window due to the excess Christmas programs being rammed down my throat. Not travelling due to public transport going manic at this time of the year. Maybe I shall be heading down your way over the next few weeks. Dawn
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