I have decided to return to Southall in July of this year and that makes me want to look back at two activities that I enjoyed very much in the area where I will have lived for two years by the time I move to the UK.
For practical and safety reasons I do not think I want to even try to cycle in the London area. Walking is of course possible in London, and walks along the Thames and the canals belong to my favourites.
But living close to the historic centre of Sint-Truiden and equally close to the countryside makes it easy to go for modest walks in the neighbourhood and longer treks in the countryside, and this is not possible in Southall.
I recently walked and photographed in the Sint-Truiden area, both a longish walk on a sunny and relatively warm day and closer to home on a cold and snowy day. Pictures taken on previous walks are already on my flickr account and the recent ones will appear there after I finally finish posting the many pictures I took during my Christmas and New-year visit to the Netherlands.
Walking and cycling are good for your health and walking is the most natural way to get from a to b.
I have seen wolves walk and wonderful dogs like Irish wolfhounds and compared with those we are clumsy and inefficient. But walking with Nihangs in Panjab showed me that humans can be efficient movers on their two feet. There is a simple law that applies both to walking and cycling: If you want to walk or cycle over any distance you will have to find a constant rhythm to move your legs in.
This does not mean a constant speed because that depends on the road surface and whether you are in a more or less flat or a hilly area. There are some good hills around here but nothing like what you find in the south of Netherlands’ Limburg or in the Belgian Ardennes.
The hills here are not challenging for walkers. The ‘dirt-roads’ offer a more serious obstacle after heavy rains, especially if you like to keep your feet dry.
Walking, just putting one leg before the other again and again has a great calming effect. Even walking through the man-made landscapes of North-West Europe you will after a while start feeling at one with your surroundings.
Guru teaches that God is everywhere, in all creatures and all plants, in rocks, in sand and clay, in the water of the rain (or the hail and snow) and in the water of streams, lakes and canals. And of course apart from the obvious animals like birds (including birds of prey), cattle, horses and donkeys there are also myriads of little ones from the insects down to invisibly small one celled creatures.
The skinny, 6 foot 3 ‘man in blue’ in Guru’s rúp strides through the landscape and feels at one with ‘The One’, the ‘Omnipresent’. But he misses Southall, and he misses his soul-brothers/sisters, and 7 days-a-week kirtan instead of Sunday only !