Why I Walk
Walking is, for me, an intimate way to connect with both the present moment and the immediate environment. My senses can fully engage with the here and now. What sounds like a cacophony of pots and pans reveals itself as a field of goats with bells. My feet connect with many textures, even through hiking shoes: tiles, bricks, hardscrabble, eucalyptus leaves, shards of the past. Details abound. This is not simply acres of forest. These are cork oaks, shorn of bark and numbered. Strawberry trees dropping the same fruit we enjoyed the other night in a liqueur along with thin, crisp and powerfully dark chocolate cookies. I observe ants that, within minutes, find the grape seeds we spit out and tenaciously lug them back to their nest. And the smells! I do not know the names of many of the native shrubs and herbs we hike through. But I am always breathing in their scents, pinching bits of plants between my fingers and holding them up to my nose. Sun and ocean breeze and high fog chill tease my skin.
And people! When I walk, I have the opportunity to say hello, to smile, to listen. To pause and share.
And there is this: How does my body feel after a day of hiking? (Today we travelled 24 + k.) How does my body feel after a day of driving?
Now we are in Carrapateira, tired and happy. We'll stay here two nights and then decide what's next.