I love a good circular walk. One that starts somewhere, takes you all the way around, maybe one where halfway you come across a pub and have a pint, and then before you know it you’re back on track and end up back at the starting point, back to the start with a different perspective. Coming full circle is very appealing.
A while back my uncle Pete invited me to go for a walk with him along the banks of the Shannon, past University of Limerick and out towards Clonlara. And mid-sentence while Pete was telling me about the time he took a rock band from Limerick to the Soviet Union, he turned on his heal and started to walk back the way we came. I was bit stunned, and though I followed, I asked him after a while, did he always go on walks that were in the shape of a line, and explained to him how for me it always feels so wrong to turn backwards, how I much prefer a circular walk. Pete shook his head and said ‘I used to be that way too, but its very limiting, not all the best walks are circular, and anyway, ‘it’s a completely different view on the way back.’ And he was right. With the river now to our left, the sun now on our backs, I noticed things Id missed along the way, and the walk did feel completely different. Perspective changed, conversation flowed, we came back to the starting point and finished with a pint in the pub. Perfect winter walk.
So I started thinking about circles and lines. And how sometimes we forge ahead and other times we do a u-turn. And how some life decisions come to us complete, fully formed, easy and full circle how other times decisions appear as painful u-turns… Oh how we resist them. Oh how often would we do anything to avoid going back the way we came. We’d even prefer to go round and round and round rather than turn on our heal.
So here are some thoughts, musings and eventually some songs on the art of walking. The shape of a walk, and where our walking takes us and decisions that shape our paths.