The park is close to our boys’ old primary school. They no longer go there yet I usually head that way and into the park, often accompanied by my husband, because our border terrier Sukie loves meeting up with her buddies. She’ll have a good run around, getting involved in a chase with a couple of other dogs, or a bit of a wrestle. She might even sit looking bemused and let the chocolate cockapoo take her leg in his mouth, as if she’s a chicken drumstick, in an effort to get her to play with him.
Today though it was rainy. I didn’t fancy standing around in the wet watching her get muddy, nor wanted all that dirt back into the house. So instead she and I headed down to the seafront to do the two bridges walk. It’s a walk that takes between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on how much she sniffs (a lot) and whether I need to get back to shepherd the boys off their screens and into their homework.
I normally start the walk heading west before crossing over and descending the curly bridge which winds down over the railway line to the estuary shore. I pick up the path that runs parallel to the track and head back on myself. This quiet and damp morning had drawn few others out. As we walked the rain started to lessen. The light was flat and the tide was out, revealing a stretch of grey-brown estuary mud, pocketed with pools of water and dotted with dark green weed.
Recently the brent geese had flown in to make the muddy bed their home for the winter. They come every year from Siberia to feast on the eelgrass. It’s said their name — brent — comes from the Norse word ‘brand’ which means burnt, a nod to their charcoal colouring. As Sukie stopped to sniff, I stopped too and just listened. It was calm and peaceful by the beach this morning and I simply stood there and took in the noise of a hundred or more geese as they chatted and honked to one another. It was a most beautiful and relaxing sound; I could have stayed there for ages, just soaking up the sound. But it was a Monday and the day needed to get started proper. Work was calling.
We continued our way eastward and then up over the bridge next to the station, and home. And what this mindful Monday morning reminded me was that getting out into nature affords us a simple way to find pockets of peace in otherwise busy days. Just being present on the edge of these geese, oblivious to the comings and goings of humans (and dogs) a stone’s throw away, busying on with their own lives, was a lovely start to the week.