My feet hit the cement with a thud. My feet are so heavy as I walk pushing my screaming, cranky and tired toddler around the hospital grounds. Buses, cars and trucks race the traffic lights and the air is heavy from the exhaust. The air is touchable and it lingers heavy around me as I walk. All around me there is scaffolding on the buildings, jackhammers and men yelling out instructions. People rush by not noticing what’s is happening around them. I watch a magpie fly over me (relieved it didn't swoop me) and then land a short distance away on the tiniest patch of grass. No seats just green luscious grass. There is no seating on the grass between the car park and the road people just walk past like they don't know what to do about it. It is nearly too perfect looking. As I walk the ground vibrates and other mums walk with prams, children pulling at their hands longing to be free and fluoro-coloured workmen in deep discussion with cigarettes in their sunburned hands. I continue with one foot in front of the other trying not to be run into. I feel totally insignificant among the buildings disappearing into the sky and the clouds sitting on their tops with the sun struggling to fight its way to the ground. I’ve never noticed until now there are not any bugs, no flies, no ladybirds only the occasional bird that has adapted to this abnormal environment created by man. The trees even look like they are gasping for air and longing not be cemented into the ground. The sound of construction trucks changing gear and hooligans on motorcycles make me want to cover my ears like a child saying “make it stop, make it stop”. The vibrations are felt in the depth of me. I take a deep breath in and out, I let out a cough and relax my shoulders. The tension that has been mounting causing my head to throb.
Where is a quiet place I can run too and escape the cityscape. As I look around the best I can find is the edge of the hospital grounds with its towering pylons and abstract art. The green benches simulating grass and the long poles brown tree stumps. As I stretch my eyes resting them on a far off hoop pine with its tired pale look, there is a sparkle of water. It’s the river. It’s the river attempting to fight the pollution and man-made influences. A river that bends and winds its way through the city. The sound of the trucks, cars and buses fill my head as I gaze at the river and its freedom but then it is also trapped and constrained as well. The hoop pine grabs my attention once again and a willy wagtail lands on the very highest point reminding me how I love little birds. It brings a smile to my face. The joy of watching life and nature at work among the intensity of the cityscapes. I think of home and feel blessed to live in the country.
My journey began as a walk to help Mr T to go to sleep, after hours of waiting at the city hospital for Eleanor to have a minor casting for a brace. But among the noisy, messy and chaotic city I realised I could find calm when I let go and let my mind absorb and wander.
Next time you take a walk and if you have the chance write what you saw and write the way the walk felt. Unlock those words it feels surprisingly refreshing and free!
My writing today was inspired by "the little red writing book" by Mark Tredinnick