Walking Angst

Grass verge of field with primroses and violets

For years I’ve taken a daily walk through the fields with the dog, exchanging pleasantries or pausing for a brief conversation with other walkers on the footpaths. It would have seemed strange to avoid people (apart from the man with the two Staffordshire Bull Terriers that nearly all the dog walkers here avoid) or not smile and say hello.

In the space of a week, with the introduction of social distancing, it’s become normal to avoid all encounters we can. I scan the path ahead for approaching walkers. Some instantly turn around and retreat as soon as they see another person. Other people start walking in a wide arc so that we make a sort of choreographed pass and I supress the urge to do a little twirl.

I find it easiest to keep going and step aside into the field as the oncoming walker get closer. Time it wrong and we both step into the field necessitating a clumsy shuffle to pass while inwardly I calculate the distance between us and wonder how many steps to take before it’s safe to breathe in.

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Just lately several blogs have been brought out of hibernation with short posts about the inconsequential. It’s as if we need to share the ordinary to make sense of all that’s happening around us at the moment but can’t encapsulate it in a tweet or an IG photo caption (apparently only a third of people always read the captions in Instagram anyway).


It seems a good idea.

6 thoughts on “Walking Angst

  1. It feels very strange to have not been beyond the gate for three weeks. But not half as strange as it’s going to feel when I do venture out again. At least it is Spring, we are both lucky enough to have green space around us and we can be outside if we want to, hauling mahoosive agapanthus rootballs around the garden in my case.
    Keep safe Anne.

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  2. There is a glimpse of blue sky in your picture Anne, let’s hope that it is a good omen, although a little early for that I fear. This must be having a big affect on your Barn business.

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    • annewheaton

      It was just a glimpse that day. The Barn is closed for the forseeable future, which is a blow but giving us the chance to explore lots of ideas while we’re not busy.

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