Just go for a walk

Just go for a walk

IMG_6786There is something about walking in a secluded place that gets my creative juices moving. Tunes come fairly easily for me. I tend to just have to sit with a guitar or mandolin and ‘noodle’ for about 20 minutes and a tune (usually the hook of the chorus) will arrive. But tunes can stay just tunes for years (I’ve got an iPhone full of recorded bits of tunes) because I don’t find writing lyrics as easy. The tune is what draws me into a song, but the words have to say and mean something.

If I want to find the lyrics for a song I tend to pop Oscar’s lead on, and head out into the Sussex countryside. I find myself walking along a secluded country footpath, and after a while I’ll just start singing the melody of the tune out loud. It’s only happened a few times that another walker will turn a corner and find this 6 foot, long-blonde haired Viking singing nonsense and walking towards them. I probably just strike them as a rather happy bloke. Little do they know the creative artistic noise that is going on in my mind.

Almost all of the lyrics for my Sabbat album were found this way. There’s an old disused railway track that runs alongside the River Adur in Sussex. It’s a beautiful path now that stretches almost all the way from Shoreham to Guildford, and that’s where I head with Oscar. Every day we are there. We meet the same people – some other dog walkers, some cyclists, and a few people on horseback. It’s good to stop for a chat with, what are essentially strangers, yet over the years we have seen each other, so talk about stuff English people talk about, then move on along the path. All the time my mind is working over the tune, and placing the odd phrase here and there. Creating the song.

There is something to be said for walking exactly the same route every day too. Each day there are subtle changes. Between now and Beltane there is a total transformation, but again it is slow. In the next few weeks the Spring flowers will begin to appear. I remember last year the excitement I felt seeing the dog violets, celandine, and nettle flowers opening to the growing warmth of the sun. I felt the same way, as I walked and felt the warmth of the sun on my face once more. It’s not too far off to be honest. Just a few more weeks until the clocks change and Spring will be here. I can’t wait. Although, as I stop on a bench along the way, pour myself a nice hot tea from my little flask, and sip it looking out across the bare hedges to the flowing river Adur, I find myself feeling the magic that Winter holds more and more each year.

So now as I walk along this old path across the Sussex countryside my mind reaches out to Wales and the stories of the Mabinogion. But then I know that Blodeuedd lives in these hedgerows too. I remember the breathtaking display of the May Flowers dripping from the branches of the Hawthorns last May, and the flapping wings of Blodeuwedd as She soared above my head, hunting food from the field and edge of the river. A ghostly white shape flapping her wings then dropping onto the green earth.

These stories run through the veins of Britain and sing from the landscape.

I’ll be listening.

7 responses to “Just go for a walk”

  1. I often read your blogs because it’s like talking to someone , nice and friendly. This time what you said really bought the forest to me. The rich scent of the damp earth, the raw greenness of new growth and the damp on my fingers as I reach forward to gently touch a delicate bloom and stroke against the grassy fronds. I live in th he New Forest but have spent the last three and a half years in bed , too ill to go any where near the forest I love. The place where I feel alive and at home. Your words brought it back to me , made it come alive again. Thank You.

  2. Lovely! We have a network of old railways here in the hills above Perth and often walk a part of them with the dogs. It’s a lovely way to start the day, though in our case we are mostly walking amongst gum trees and native undergrowth. Just had a walk along a new bit of one this morning, actually! Was a nice cool breezy morning after days and days of extreme heat, so was extra good!

  3. Hi Dave…it was lovely reading your blog today…it’s so hot and humid in Queensland today that I’m melting like a 99 without a flake!
    I so miss the English countryside, thank you for sharing /|\

  4. Reminds me of a UK holiday where we stayed in the country around Beccles in Suffolk.Lovely walks down narrow hedged lanes to a river.Thanks, Dave.

  5. Thank you so much for bringing together the spring, the flowers, the owl and the Mabinogion — what a great source of spiritual insights it is. And thank you for your wonderful music.

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