My task for the day was to go to my GP surgery to get the pneumonia vaccine. I knew this would be a painful journey as my knees have been giving me trouble lately despite the well known gel that I have been applying. I knew that it would take me longer than usual. Fortunately it was a dry sunny day.
I set out early so that I was in no rush and I could take it slowly. You know what? Going slowly gives you ample time to really see the world around you. I walked past a privet hedge meticulously cut into a smart square around a patch of grass – someone’s pride and joy. I saw a bare tree with a halo of green as shoots were developing at the end of every branch. Spears of green leaves were making their way to the sun.
Puddles turned to mirrors in the sunshine. Grass, crushed, lay on its side where a car had parked on the verge. A worm wriggled slowly on the mud. A dried leaf skittered across the footpath in front of me, coming to rest at the foot of a fence.
In the distance I heard a large dog stating his claim, marking his territory against intruders. A small dog gambolled heedless behind its owner. The sky filled with the sounds of the seaside, seagulls soaring overhead. These gulls that live in a city as far as possible from the sea as you can get – can they really still be called seagulls? Smaller birds were singing from the bushes.
A child’s abandoned scooter made me wonder if it was lost, or stolen; would the owner be crying for it? An empty crisp packet bumbled past, the sunlight reflecting from it making me glance away.
An acrid smell made me wrinkle my nose. I looked around. I could see no smoke though it smelt like fire, perhaps a garden fire made by someone clearing the garden after the winter.
I took the shortcut to the surgery though an alley. Rotting leaves from last autumn still lingered at the side; no wind to blow the leaves away could reach it here. The rich brown leaf mould smelt earthy.
I turned towards the entrance to the surgery, spoke to the camera that guards the door from uninvited intruders. The surgery was quiet; only two of us were seated in the waiting area. The nurse who called me into her room was chatty and friendly. The deed was quickly done, and I was soon on my slow walk home. I met a friend I hadn’t seen for a while. I was in no rush, so we had a chat and caught up with life during Covid.
As I neared the school I heard the playful screams of children enjoying their playtime in the sunshine. It brought back memories of when my brood was at that age. I walked for a while with a large smile on my face.
A passer-by stopped me to comment on the colour of my hair which she loved. A compliment always gives you a lift.
As I crossed the road at the Zebra crossing, I heard a chatter of birds. Not a bird in sight – they were all hidden amid the branches of a large laurel hedge.
And then I saw a neighbour, out walking her dog. We said hello and we went to go our separate ways. Then she decided she would walk with me. Of course we chatted as we walked, putting the world to right.
At long last I stepped through my front door, able to rest for a while, take the weight off my knees, feeling refreshed and renewed by the sights I had seen, and the company I’d met. Things I would have missed if life was moving quicker. Taking joy in the small things.
Portland Jones Disability Liaison for Pagan Federation Midlands