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the view from the gym

February 12, 2011

It’s just over a month since I resolved to resist taking out another gym membership and try, instead, to make use of the amazing landscape that is within reach of our corner of Sheffield.

In that month it has rained more days than not. Mornings that would have been fine for a quick run were definitely not OK for tramping through dripping woodland or across boggy moors.

But the days that I have been able to walk have exceeded all my expectations. Sometimes I can only manage half an hour – enough to get to some nearby stepping stones and back.

Other days I have been able to explore further afield. This flagged path on the very edge of the Peak District beats a treadmill any day.

Even though I try to walk fast in order to maximise the fitness effect, there is still time to stop and notice details like a frozen puddle or a patch of lichen on a drystone wall.

In time I think this will benefit my fitness, although it’s not a quick fix.

But something else is happening too, something I didn’t anticipate. Slowly and surely this landscape is imprinting itself on me, becoming a part of who I am. I have a sense of possessing it – or perhaps it is the landscape that is possessing me.

To return again and again to the same place, to see it in all weathers and at all seasons, to walk across it at times of joy or to shout frustration and anger into the wind – all this builds a sense of connectedness.

It’s something like falling in love. The more time I spend in this landscape, the greater my hunger for it and the less I can imagine ever doing without it.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 12, 2011 9:25 pm

    What a wonderful post.

    I am delighted that you are finding the al fresco austerity gym so rich and fulfilling! I am trying to clear my head of Winter fug and I find that walks in and around familiar places are by far the best tonic.

    Love all your photos and it sounds like you are really enjoying it. Huzzah! I found the most wonderful podcast about writing and walking the other day – you might enjoy listening to it:

    http://hackneypodcast.co.uk/2011/01/episode-20-writers-on-walking/

  2. February 13, 2011 2:25 am

    Oh, you’re killing me. Your austerity gym has some pretty great treasures! Love that top photo with the rainbow. Amazing. Wish I could join you for a power walk. The scenery hereabout leaves a bit to be desired. I try to ‘see with new eyes’ as much as I can, but then I see pics like these and realize I need something more than a new perspective to get at that kind of scenery!

    My gym membership is up at the end of this month, and like you, I’m not planning on renewing it. If I end up weighing 400 lbs as a result, I’m totally blaming it on the landscape around here!!!

    Thanks for sharing a bit of your corner of the world!

    • Joanna permalink*
      February 14, 2011 8:33 pm

      It is a lovely corner of the world – can’t believe it’s taken me so long to get out in it regularly!

  3. February 14, 2011 10:37 am

    Your photos are beautiful!

    • Joanna permalink*
      February 14, 2011 8:32 pm

      I am glad you liked the pictures. Sometimes I blog about knitting too!

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