A slow walk on a hot summer’s day, excursion beyond the realm marked by silver birch. My steps almost in tune with the heat, stately speed, syncopated by stick’s rhythm: one crisp beat to two measured steps. In time they become halting, energy trickling out of me fast, traceless. More rest-points on way back, sit on fences, walls, parapets; savour stillness in air that comes with heat. Turn face towards pale blue sky dabbed with thin washes of cloud. Breath in, breath out, steady now. Up again and onwards, slower and slower, teetering, every so often scuttling sidewards like crab - waste of precious steps, but also little involuntary dance, celebrating the spot I tread around. A memory alights, of school-outings, where some of us would link arms and temporarily walk in step, chanting: ‘Ein Hut, ein Stock, ein Regenschirm,/und vorwärts, rückwärts, seitwärts, steh’n.’ And again. (In the interest of maintaining innate iambic rhythm I translate as follows: ‘A hat, a stick, umbrella too,/and forwards, backwards, sidewards, still.’ Shout out and let right leg swing and stop, like a 3D-pendulum.)
Home seems to recede. I trail a straight line, thrown just for me. Time to sink nose into cup-sized purple bell-blossoms on high stalks, nameless to me, and clusters of tiny blue flowers whose sweet-scented loveliness I share with a bee. Finally I see my door, touch my keys, let home reel me in.