audio narrative

…at the speed of Andante

Walking is also an ambulation of mind.

Gretel Ehrlich
A wee little sample from the presentation I’ll give this afternoon.

Today I’ll present my first talk about my epic hikes. I was requested by a resident at The Wellington Senior Living in Saint Paul. My big fan over there must know me from the radio as she – and the director who hired me – are most interested in the intersection of music with walking, particularly composers who found their creative spirit enlivened by nature and the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other.

As I pulled together photos and thought of which stories and experiences resonate best with particular pieces of music, I realized that my walking pace is more of a saunter than anything resembling hiking. In musical parlance, the tempo would be marked andante. Let’s face it, I’m slow. Steady, but slow. Surprise, surprise, folks, I’m no spring chicken, but I feel sauntering, rather than conquering, affords me the time I require to study and really delve into the essence of everything I encounter.

Or maybe it’s just an excuse for the inevitable midlife downshifting into low gear.

Walking slowly is the way to see deeply into the essence of all that surrounds us, big and small.
Walking slowly is the way to see deeply into the essence of all that surrounds us, big and small.

I’m not all “solo hiker” though when it comes to the rhythm of my days. The great nature writer and environmental activist Edward Abbey is in agreement with my philosophy, writing, “Life is already too short to waste on speed.”

hike blog

TA Day 13, Helena Bay to Whananaki – 25 km

The walk out of Helena Bay is straight up.
The walk out of Helena Bay is straight up.

Walking straight uphill this early morning onto a flower-covered hillside above the ocean. I can hear the waves crashing below. My pants are already soaked because the deep grass is drenched from last night’s torrential rain.

Just as I left the beach last evening and wandered back to the alicoop, a woman about my age wandered by, smiled and said hello. I followed her and asked if she might sell me a beer. She looked dumbfounded, “You need one?”

Yes, in fact I do after all those hot kilometers.

Turns out she doesn’t like beer at all. And and would much rather I share sparkling wine.

Monterrey Pines were imported to New Zealand and adapt well to the rain and fog.
Monterrey Pines were imported to New Zealand and adapt well to the rain and fog.

The next thing I know, I am included with husband, dad and cousin for cocktail hour. Tracy is a midwife, Ben, a carpenter. We natter for hours, and I learn much better Maori pronunciation – like wh is a ‘f’ sound, and that their home on the beach is called a bach, pronounced  “batch.”