walking together



Yesterday Julian went out in search of poppies and I had something I never get (and, of course, which he gets far too much of) – time on my own at home. I felt a freedom I feel too rarely. Even though I did the usual things – run, meditate, have coffee in the vines, write, wash up – I was aware that there was not a chunk of my mind that was running after someone else’s needs; trying to guess at their feelings; following them.

This-morning I went out for a walk just after the rain. Poppies nodded their luminous heads in greeting, a raindrop fell down my cleavage and cooled it, sunlight filtered through young oak leaves and embraced me with its gentle fingers, an amethyst butterfly landed on my shin, my feet crunched on wild-meadow and wet sand and the broome filled the air with a sweet holiday scent. What was I following and where was I leading? Footsteps, breath, the path….

Alone and connected. More and more space. Perfect.

Like most people I imagine, I am a complex mixture of leader and follower. As a cellist I started out as a follower but have become increasingly comfortable ‘leading’. However, I realise by leading I do not even mean following my own voice but rather aspiring to be a channel not clogged by fear or desire, and so thus leading and following become the same.

John Bayley, in his moving book about his wife, Iris Murdoch, says that marriage to them was ‘growing closer and closer apart’.

Walking together but neither leading nor following, perhaps?.

Julian and I have days like this sometimes. I write downstairs and he paints upstairs, and at the end of the day we come together fulfilled. Sometimes we talk about the landscape in which we have been wandering, sometimes not. We do not need anything from each-other. These are perfect days,

(Oh, and by the way, does anyone know a bloke who doesn’t walk ahead at least seven paces whilst trying to hold a conversation?!)



I like your description of a good and strong partnership. Not only do I n ot know a bloke that does not "run" ahead, I also don't know a French man capable of living a relationship as you describe it. Argh. sorry, guess I am really starting to feel very lost in this country in my quest to extend my family.

well, me, I got the guy (who runs ahead when we walk!) but he's not French, and I didn't get the family extention. I guess you can't have everything!

"(Oh, and by the way, does anyone know a bloke who doesn’t walk ahead at least seven paces whilst trying to hold a conversation?!)"No, Ruth, I don't know one of them, but until you put it in typing, I never exactly put my wrinkled nose, furrowed brow, "What the hell?" reaction to Himself's march ahead into further thought. I'm thinking now, though!Lovely photos.

I've always loved the story of how CS Lewis, when a young man tried to hurry him a bit by walking a little ahead of him, stopped dead and folded his arms and announced "I will NOT be bullied into walking faster!"

hello ruth I found your blog again, and loved reading about what you are doing.... might try and ring you to have a chat - long time since i caught up properly. Meanwhileloadsalove Julia

Hope it's not too gushy to say this, but you have a real flare for the shortstory.It's nice that you seem to apprecaite what you're experiencing so much that you write about it to share with others.

Hello there, I just found your lovely blog through Open Brackets, and I just thought I'd drop a line to say I loved this post. What you describe is the kind of equilibrium I search out in my relationships... Looking forward to reading more in the future.

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