Over the last couple of days, I have been slowing down. One of the reasons is that the path is no longer as hilly as it has been at the start. Looking back at that stage, I think I have been ‘goinig at it’, with a lot of energy and will power. Maybe it is also a question of getting in a groove, but the mountains of the Beara peninsula certainly helped to keep that out of sight for a while! Niall, the owner of the camping at Clonmel where I stayed a wet stormy night at the highest house in Ireland (and where I therefore laid my sleeping mat in his kitchen) said: “You Dutchmen all run up the hills like crazy, you have no idea how to walk a mountain, you need a steady pace”. He also had his very own idea about the history of Ireland: “The English? We’ve assimilated them!” A proud man.
This flatter land makes it possible for me to walk slower and in a more meditative way. I walk for hours breathing through my nose only, it regulates and evens up the use of energy. After a while it is like it is not me who is walking, but an entity of its own accord. I can almost see it. It is shaped like a ball: round, flexible and grounded and it has a drive and energy of its own, almost not connected to me. It walks impassive along little gurgling streams, slow dreamy rivers, chilly hills and rain dripping forests. It walks, therefore it is.
My walking stick sits on my left hand a lot these days.