Although quite seriously disabled by my torn hamstring, I never completely stopped walking. At first it was only the 200 yards or so from my front door to the Co-op, taken at a literal snail's pace. Normally at this time of year I would expect to be quite active, so perhaps it was fortunate the summer has mostly been fairly similar to winter, except with light evenings (and just about without the snow). Perhaps I have been a little less frustrated than otherwise. I have also learnt a few things from the experience:
If you walk at toddler pace, the world is revealed differently. My eyes have been glued to the ground, alert to impending jolts and slips, and so my observations have been at foot level and in miniature. The discarded shoe lace or shopping list; lost buttons; the postie's trail of red rubber bands; flowers forging up between cracks in the pavement; a beetle poised on the end of a blade of grass. These tiny miracles, these embryonic stories, I would normally overlook.
In the initial weeks, my work involved more teaching than writing, and unfortunately this included a day's walking and writing workshop for Edinburgh University Geosciences students, and a week roaming about in the woods at Abriachan with about 100 schoolchildren. (I hope they didn't take my pained expression and mental lapses personally.) After this came the period allotted to writing. You might think this would be a really good time to sit down and get it done. But my pattern of heads-down thought and word-pulling (as in teeth) is usually followed by a walk. It loosens everything up, allows for obvious solutions of word, character or plot to float into my slightly removed mind. How incomplete my writing days have felt without the daily walk.