The latest post from Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life
I love to walk, to get me into the great or even little, out doors and to stretch my sinews and to breath new air. I like planned walks, I like familiar / done again and again walks, and I like new places and new route marches too.
Walks enervate me, they inspire me, and they get me out of the womb of inside. I’ve had some of my most beautiful ideas when walking – in fact my first blog and book came to me in this walking way.
Sometimes my walking strategies are consciously purposeful, where I will seek and see the obvious; or else there is an oblivious aspect, with a subconscious hidden purpose – where I simply set myself free – in body and mind and allow routes then answers and inspirations to download to me, gorgeously and easily.
So all this leads me on neatly to Jay Walking – not an illegal or reckless crossing of a roadway, but my redefinition, which is: the wondrous act of wondering about, without defined route or purpose, just for the sheer unadulterated, meandering pleasure of it.
I guess jay walking comes to me naturally, since I have never walked life’s path in a straight line, veering from the course, and stumbling into others as I do, and sometimes dancing ahead, sometimes crawling behind, some times stalling; but always some how, moving forward.
At this present point I am in Spain, in the heartland of Flamenco – the city of Jerez de la Frontera. It is, for me now, the perfect place for jay walking, so I’m off – route less and purposeless, letting my legs lead me on. I have all the time, temperament and space I want, to saunter.
It is still the cool of the morning and the world is alive. I march past a bodega (a local maker and purveyor of wine), the doors of which have been widely flung open to the world, and the warm delicious smell of Sherry meets me out on the street. I walk past cafes where the breakfast chatter and smell of coffee floats out to me too. I stride on and off endless grey pavements, stepping around dog mess and parked cars and watchful of oncoming traffic, through side streets shaded by the tall buildings on either side. Even on the quietest streets I meet people coming to and fro. My solitude self bridles, then surrenders, for this is not my world, this is their world I am wandering through.
I come out of the shade on to a main road, with shops and hair dressers and more and more people, going hither and thither. I maintain my air of brisk importance, of speed and purpose, but it’s an act, I’m just pottering, purposefully forward.
I take in all my surroundings – the streets, the shops and the people. I decide which side of the road to be, and jay walk along, zig zagging and criss crossing, still striding onwards. My strides take me to a town square, complete and replete with a fountain, pigeons, trees and pleasant shade; it is all orderly and ordinary and yet beautiful in its’ deliberate urban way, and it demands to be a respite.
I sit on a bench and surreptitiously start to people watch. Like the urban spy I am, I watch the couples, the mothers with babies, the grand mothers, the young and the old. I absorb their clothes, their gait, the expressions on their faces. People come and go, passing by me, on my bench: The morning food shoppers, and the retired men gathering together in smiling groups. And a market stall holder from Senegal sets out his wares of purses and bags, to trap the passers by, to while and wear away his time.
As well as people watch, I dog watch too. There are dogs of many pedigree that walk, sniff and trot through here. They are part of the picture and so I appraise them… That dog is old and stiff, that dog is attentive, that dog is nervous…
Sometimes, just sometimes, some one sees me. I’m looked up and down. But that is all fine. I’m watching them watching me after all.
So this is jay walking – the giving myself the simple gift of freedom for a while. Not setting a course for the next few hours, to sail with the wind, to wander and to wonder.
I am setting my head and my legs free, since my British head has been crowded and busy for the longest time. My Spanish head instead is at liberty to stroll, to create, and most importantly to rest and to play. With out effort now I observe and I learn; learning more about myself than the people or even the environment that envelops me.
So often when I am confused or stalling in life, the urge is to push, to work, to blast through, all with my head down, carrying on until the clouds lift or the job is done. But really what I need is space at times like this. Confusion clears when it isn’t confined and cramped. I don’t have to spiral down or get lost in it. I know that after the storm comes the calm and clarity, and then I allow them to come to me, softly. I don’t have to know all the answers now. I have asked the questions and will trust my heart and my subconscious to do the rest, treating them to a rest and sweet change of scenery.
I’m used to the quiet countryside scenery of my UK home and here in Jerez I’ve been told that these can be mean streets or they can be merry streets, and so I decide to be safe , yet remember, aside from being sensible, that safety is more often an emotional state than a physical one, and so often is a choice we can make…
So this is the joy of jay walking for me: Its’ freedom, its’ litany, its’ spice, its’ wanton lack of structure.
And I have given myself the gift of sauntering in Spain, but you can amble aimlessly almost any where. Just give yourself some time and some space – for minutes or for hours, and it can be in new or familiar surroundings. You can jay walk with or with out purpose. What I love about the process is that I so often find that questions or issues that have been nagging at me, will resolve themselves more effortlessly, when I move and I allow and I change the scenery.
I can walk as a solitary jay or in company, and both have their place and purpose. I love my solo strolls when I just follow my nose, to exercise body and mind and also exorcise demons and cyclical negative thinking. With companions, you can chatter or have silence, and follow their path or lead yours, or indeed do a joint jay walk, where between you will randomly decide on the direction you take.
So this is my gist of jay walking. It’s how I do it, yet there are no rules, that is its’ spare, free beauty.
As I have walked, so have I run out of words now. And I have considered and celebrated once again and here is the end of this letter / this journey / this jay walk.
PS: I love the neglected form of Letter Writing and have written a whole book of Love Letters to Life, celebrating, loving and learning about life, and which you can buy from any where around the world. In the UK you can buy the paperback or the Kindle version on Amazon. If you would like details of how to purchase it else where, please leave a message below…